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  • Oct 20, 2021
States News Service

The following information was released by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Nuclear Energy:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded a $50 million cost-share with Exelon Generation to digitalize the control room at Limerick Generating Station. Once implemented, the Pottstown, Pa. facility will house the first fully digital safety system upgrade at a U.S. nuclear power plant.

"Through this partnership, DOE and Exelon will pave the way for modernization of control room systems across the U.S. nuclear fleet," said Dr. Kathryn D. Huff, Acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. "These upgrades will strengthen the case for extending the operation of U.S. nuclear plants into the future, ensuring we maintain access to our nation's largest source of emissions-free electricity."

Control room digitalization will enable automation, decrease system interruptions, and improve performance. Ultimately, this will improve operations and reduce costs significantly.

As part of the agreement, Exelon will contribute $42 million to the cost-share. The company has retained Westinghouse Electric Company to replace the analog Reactor Protection System, as well as several other safety-related systems, with digitalized controllers over the next five years.

This effort marks the first fully digital safety system modernization using the new ISG-06 Alternate Review Process protocol, which optimizes the process of licensing digital safety system upgrades.

The results of this effort will be directly applicable to other U.S. boiling water reactors, which represent about one third of the nation's existing nuclear fleet. Pressurized water reactors will also be able to apply the results to inform their own digitalization efforts. Advanced reactor developers will be able to apply the lessons learned to future reactor demonstrations.

Please visit the Office of Nuclear Energy's website for more information.

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