SC Upstate Nuclear Plant to Receive Upgrades
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved a safety system upgrade to the Oconee Nuclear Station located near Greenville, SC.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has approved a license amendment request from Duke Energy Carolinas to install an up-to-date computer upgrade of major safety-related systems at the Oconee Nuclear Station, located eight miles north of Seneca on Lake Keowee.
The amended Oconee license gives Duke permission to replace 1970s-era analog, solid-state controls for the plant’s Reactor Protection System (RPS) and Engineered Safeguard Protection System (ESPS). Duke will install Teleperm XS (TXS) digital computer-based equipment, according to a release from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The NRC staff approved the Oconee amendment after confirming the new system’s ability to meet both safety requirements and NRC cyber-security regulations that isolate the systems and prevent cyber attacks. The staff paid particular attention to the system’s ability to maintain two-way communications between various subsystems and provide diverse control pathways for safety-related commands, as well as the tools used to simulate and validate the system’s performance. NRC staff also inspected Duke’s procedures for the Oconee-specific TXS design and implementation and observed testing of the actual system at production facilities in Germany.
This marks the first NRC approval for a nuclear power plant’s integrated digital RPS and ESPS instrumentation and control system. The agency had previously approved single safety-related digital control applications, such as for the main steam and feed-water isolation system at the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Kansas.
A couple fun facts about the Oconee station courtesy of Gwyneth Cravens’ book, “Power to Save the World”
- Started producing power in 1973
- By 1981, the plant had paid for its start up costs
- Only nuclear power plant in the country with a hydroelectric backup