FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.’s (FENOC) Beaver Valley Power Station Unit 1 in Shippingport, Pa., was returned to service on Saturday morning, following a shutdown on April 9 for refueling and maintenance.

The 911-MW Unit 1 is currently operating at 40% power and will reach full power this week, Akron, Ohio–based FirstEnergy Corp. said in a statement on Saturday. During the outage, 65 of the 157 fuel assemblies were exchanged and safety inspections were successfully conducted. Numerous maintenance and improvement projects were also completed.

According to FENOC, prior to the outage, Beaver Valley Unit 1 operated safely and reliably for 359 consecutive days and generated more than 9.3 million MWh of electricity since the completion of its last refueling in November 2010. The plant also posted an industry top-decile forced-loss rate of 0.01% during the past 18 months of operation.

FENOC last week shut down its troubled Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, for scheduled refueling and maintenance. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection team in March completed ultrasonic tests that show 12 of the 69 nozzles on top of the plant’s reactor head developed some sort of cracks.

While the 908-MW unit is offline, 68 of the 177 fuel assemblies will be replaced and “numerous safety inspections will be conducted, including inspections of the steam generators,” FENOC said. “In addition, preventative maintenance to ensure continued safe and reliable operations will be performed on major components including pumps, valves and the emergency diesel generators, and maintenance will be performed on the cooling tower to improve efficiency.”

More than 1,000 temporary contractors, many from the local area providing specialized services, and 100 FENOC employees from the company’s other nuclear plants, are expected to supplement the Davis-Besse workforce during the outage.

Sources: POWERnews, FENOC