Susquehanna Steam Electric Station

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Susquehanna Steam Electric Station
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station from Council Cup 1.JPG
CountryUnited States
LocationSalem Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Coordinates41°5′20″N 76°8′56″W / 41.08889°N 76.14889°W / 41.08889; -76.14889Coordinates: 41°5′20″N 76°8′56″W / 41.08889°N 76.14889°W / 41.08889; -76.14889
Construction beganNovember 2, 1973 (1973-11-02)
Commission dateUnit 1: June 8, 1983
Unit 2: February 12, 1985
Construction cost$7.983 billion (2007 USD)[1]
Owner(s)Talen Energy (90%)
Allegheny Electric Cooperative (10%)
Operator(s)PPL Corporation
Nuclear power station
Reactor typeBWR
Reactor supplierGeneral Electric
Cooling towers2 × Natural Draft
Cooling sourceSusquehanna River
Thermal capacity2 × 3952 MWth
Power generation
Units operational2 × 1350 MW
Make and modelBWR-4 (Mark 2)
Nameplate capacity2514 MW
Capacity factor94.50% (2017)
85.05% (lifetime)
Annual net output20,811 GWh (2017)
External links
WebsiteSusquehanna Nuclear Power Plant
CommonsRelated media on Commons

The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, a nuclear power station, is on the Susquehanna River in Salem Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.


PPL operated the plant until June 2015 when Talen Energy was formed from PPL's competitive supply business. The plant has two General Electric boiling water reactors within a Mark II containment building[2] on a site of 1,075 acres (435 ha), with 1,130 employees working on site and another 180 employees in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg-based Allegheny Electric Cooperative purchased 10% of the plant in 1977.[3][4]

Susquehanna produces 63 million kilowatt hours per day. It has been in operation since 1983. The prime builder was Bechtel Power Corporation of San Francisco, California. In the plant's first emergency, an electrical fire erupted at a switch box that controls the supply of cooling water to emergency systems. No injuries were reported following the 1982 incident.[5]

Roughly 10,000 gallons of mildly radioactive water spilled at the Station's Unit 1 turbine building after a gasket failed in the filtering system in 1985. Installed drains collected the water, which was then processed through the normal liquid radioactive waste system at the facility. No radiation was released from the building to the public, and no personnel were contaminated as a result of this incident.[6]

In November 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) extended the operation licenses of the reactors for an additional 20 years.[7]

In 2008, PPL filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate a new nuclear plant under consideration near Berwick, Pennsylvania. The Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant would be built near the company’s existing two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power plant. On August 30, 2016, Talen Energy formally requested the license application be withdrawn,[8] and the NRC officially accepted the application withdrawal on September 22, 2016,[9] officially cancelling the project.

Surrounding population[edit]

One of the power plant's cooling towers from the north

The NRC 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.[10]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Susquehanna was 54,686, an increase of 3.3 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 1,765,761, an increase of 5.5 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Wilkes-Barre (18 miles to city center) and the larger city, Scranton (33 miles to center city).[11]

Seismic risk[edit]

The NRC's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Susquehanna was 1 in 76,923, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[12][13]


  1. ^ "EIA - State Nuclear Profiles". Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  2. ^ "U.S. boiling-water reactors with "Mark 1" and "Mark 2" containments". NRC. November 2, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  3. ^ "At a Glance". Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  4. ^ "PPL Susquehanna Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  5. ^ "Nuke plant has emergency". Reading Eagle. September 22, 1982. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  6. ^ "Radioactive water spills at nuke plant". Gainesville Sun. October 28, 1985. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  7. ^ "Susquehanna gets 20 more years". World Nuclear News. World Nuclear Association (WNA). 25 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  8. ^ "Bell Bend Combined Operating License application withdrawal" (PDF). Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 30 August 2016. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  9. ^ "Bell Bend Combined Operating License application withdrawal acceptance" (PDF). Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 22 September 2016. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors, NBC News, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  12. ^ Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk," NBC News, March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
  13. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-05-25. Retrieved 2017-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]