Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station

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Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station
Peach Bottom Nuclear Generating Station 1974 cropped.jpg
Photo of Units 2 and 3 c. 1974
CountryUnited States
LocationPeach Bottom Township, York County, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°45′30″N 76°16′5″W / 39.75833°N 76.26806°W / 39.75833; -76.26806Coordinates: 39°45′30″N 76°16′5″W / 39.75833°N 76.26806°W / 39.75833; -76.26806
Construction beganUnit 1: February 1, 1962
Units 2–3: January 31, 1968
Commission dateUnit 1: June 1, 1967
Unit 2: July 5, 1974
Unit 3: December 23, 1974
Decommission dateUnit 1: November 1, 1974
Construction cost$2.943 billion (2007 USD)[1]
Owner(s)Unit 1: Exelon
Units 2–3: Exelon (50%),
PSEG (50%)
Nuclear power station
Reactor typeUnit 1: HTGR
Units 2–3: BWR
Reactor supplierUnit 1: General Atomics
Units 2–3: General Electric
Cooling towers3 × Mechanical Draft
(supplemental only)
Cooling sourceSusquehanna River
Thermal capacity1 × 115 MWth (decommissioned)
2 × 3951 MWth
Power generation
Units operational1 × 1308 MW
1 × 1309 MW
Make and modelUnit 1: Prototype
Units 2–3: BWR-4 (Mark 1)
Units decommissioned1 × 40 MW
Nameplate capacity2617 MW
Capacity factor94.81% (2017)
76.90% (lifetime)
Annual net output21,734 GWh (2017)
External links
WebsitePeach Bottom Atomic Power Station
CommonsRelated media on Commons

Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, a nuclear power plant, is located 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Harrisburg in Peach Bottom Township, York County, Pennsylvania, on the Susquehanna River three miles north of the Maryland border.

The Philadelphia Electric Company (later shortened first to PECO Energy and later to just PECO) became one of the pioneers in the commercial nuclear industry when it ordered Peach Bottom 1 in 1958. The U.S.'s first nuclear power plant (the Shippingport Reactor) had gone on line a year earlier. Peach Bottom Unit 1 was an experimental helium-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor. It operated from 1966 to 1974. The other two units, General Electric boiling water reactors, placed on-line in 1974, are still in operation on the 620-acre (2.5 km2) site. Both Units 2 and 3, originally rated at 3,514 megawatts thermal (MWth), equivalent to about 1,180 megawatts of electricity (MWe) each, were uprated to 4,016 megawatts thermal (MWth), equivalent to about 1,382 megawatts net of electricity (MWe) each in 2018. Their licenses run until 2033 (Unit 2) and 2034 (Unit 3).

Peach Bottom is operated by Exelon and is jointly owned by Exelon (50%) and Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) Power LLC (50%).

Peach Bottom was one of the plants analyzed in the NUREG-1150 safety analysis study.

Surrounding population[edit]

Photo of Peach Bottom Unit 1

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[2]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Peach Bottom was 46,536, an increase of 7.2 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 5,526,343, an increase of 10.6 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Baltimore (36 miles to city center).[3]

Safety concerns[edit]

In 1987, PECO was ordered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to indefinitely shutdown Peach Bottom-2 and -3 on March 31 due to operator misconduct, corporate malfeasance and blatant disregard for the health and safety of the area. Infamously, operators were found sleeping on the job, playing video games, engaging in rubber band and paper ball fights, and reading unauthorized material.

Among the incidents cited by the NRC: security guards were overworked, one guard was found asleep on the job, 36,000 gallons of "mildly radioactive water" leaked into the Susquehanna River, PECO mislaid data on radioactive waste classification causing misclassification of a waste shipment, and a major fire occurred in the maintenance cage of the Unit 3 turbine building on March 4, 1987.

Blame was not simply placed on the operators. “Latent organizational weakness” was targeted by industry experts and regulators alike. INPO President Zack Pate came to the conclusion that “Major changes in the corporate culture at PECO are required.” In September 1988, NRC Chairman Lando Zech told senior management officials of PECO, "Your operators certainly made mistakes, no question about that. Your corporate management problems are just as serious." Clearly, a culture characterized by low morale and apathy prevailed. By April 1988, this emphasis on mismanagement contributed to the President of PECO resigning as well as to the retirement of the CEO.[citation needed]

Robert P. Crosby became the primary Organization Development influence during the PECO Nuclear turnaround following the Peach Bottom shut down. He used The Interpersonal Gap model by John L. Wallen along with a unique T-group method known as Conflict Management (and later as Tough Stuff in other business applications) to speed culture change, and applied his own version of Daryl Conner's Sponsor Agent Target model to improving and shortening outage management.[4][5]

By 1996, both Limerick and Peach Bottom were designated excellent by INPO, and given strong Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance (SALP) ratings by the NRC.

In 1999, PECO Nuclear eliminated their Organization Development positions as part of cost cutting initiative.

Trouble arose again in September 2007, when former employee Kerry Beal videotaped Peach Bottom security guards sleeping on the job. Beal had previously tried to notify supervisors at Wackenhut Corp. and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[6] He was eventually fired during the Exelon security transition, a decision which made a list of the 101 "dumbest moments in business" in the January 16, 2008 issue of Fortune.[7]

Seismic risk[edit]

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Peach Bottom was 1 in 41,667; according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ "NRC: Backgrounder on Emergency Preparedness at Nuclear Power Plants". Archived from the original on October 2, 2006. Retrieved 10 October 2014.
  3. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors,, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  4. ^ Crosby, G. (2015). Fight, Flight, Freeze: Taming Your Reptilian Brain and other Practical Approaches to Self-Improvement. Second Edition. Seattle, WA: CrosbyOD Publishing. Chapters 3 and 4 are dedicated to The Interpersonal Gap and Wallen’s behavioral skills, Chapter 11 to the PECO Nuclear turnaround.
  5. ^ Crosby, R.P. (2011). Culture Change in Organizations: A Guide to Leadership and Bottom-Line Results. Second Edition. Seattle, WA: CrosbyOD Publishing. Appendix F, Culture Can be Built: PECO Nuclear Turnaround.
  6. ^ Mufson, Steven (January 4, 2008). "Video of Sleeping Guards Shakes Nuclear Industry". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-11-18.
  7. ^ "101 Dumbest Moments in Business: 69. Exelon Nuclear". CNN. January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-12.
  8. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk,", March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  9. ^
  • External links[edit]