PPL Corp. last week shut down Unit 2 of its Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., for a planned inspection of its turbine. Unit 1 of the two-reactor plant was shut down after workers in April found cracks similar to damage discovered and repaired in 2011.

PPL said it would inspect turbine blades from the Unit 2 low-pressure turbine for cracking that had been found in Unit 1. Work to repair Unit 1 is continuing, but PPL declined to say when it would be complete. The unit was scheduled to return to service in mid-May after shutting down in March.

"We are prepared to perform the inspection and any turbine blade replacements that may be needed for the continued safe operation of the unit," said Timothy S. Rausch, PPL Susquehanna senior vice president and chief nuclear officer. "Nuclear safety drives all of our decisions in operating the plant and addressing equipment issues."

Workers also will install additional diagnostic equipment on the turbine to complement the equipment installed in 2011. PPL plans to use data from the equipment to validate suspected causes of the turbine blade cracking currently under engineering review.

The financial impact of the additional turbine work on both Unit 1 and Unit 2 at the Susquehanna plant, including energy sales margins and repair costs, “is not expected to be material, and . . . the company is maintaining its 2012 forecast of $2.15 to $2.45 per share in earnings from ongoing operations,” said PPL, which operates the plant but owns Susquehanna in joint partnership with Allegheny Electric Cooperative.

Sources: POWERnews, PPL Corp.