Big Rock Point (USA)

Map of Big Rock Point

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70 MW BWR unit constructed by GE operation started in 1963

Facilities in Big Rock Point

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
Big Rock PointBWR196019631997

Pioneer US N-Plant to Close:
A NPP that played a key role in the development of the US nuclear energy program is to close on August 30th. Big Rock Point, in Michigan, is the longest running and oldest operating nuclear station in the US.
Big Rock Point began operation in 1962, and was the fifth NPP built in the US. The boiling water reactor was conceived in the late 1950s as part of a demonstration program run by the Atomic Energy Commission. Research at Big Rock Point led to the development of more efficient nuclear fuels, and for 11 years the reactor was used to produce cobalt-60 for medical and industrial applications.
In 1977, the plant set a world record for continuous operation, with a run of 343 days. It was declared a nuclear historic landmark in 1991.
The decommissioning process is to start in September. An existing fund of $170 million, together with further finance and future earnings, is expected to be adequate to cover the decommissioning expenses.


Shutdown after the admission valves unexpectedly shut. (Admission valves regulate the steam entering the turbine).The shutdwon was due to a failure of the pressure control mechanism. Shutdown planned for 6 days to repair a valve leak.


Consumer Power submitted its decommissioning plan, roughly 5 years before the scheduled shutdown of the plant. If the plant operated until May 2000 it will be the first commercial US NPP to make it to the end of its licensed life.
Owner choose SAFSTOR option for decommissioning because of lack of disposal facilities for HLW/LLW.
Safstor is estimated to cost 290 million US$ (40 before safe storage; 85 for the safe storage period, 150 for dismantling, 15 for site restoration). Since November 1991 a surcharge on consumer bills produced 20 million US$ annually for the decommissioning fund.. When the plant license expires, there will be about 200 million US$ in the fund.
Cost of burying LLW would account for 25-35% of the total. Spent fuel now at the site will cool in the storage pool until 2006; then it will be placed in transportable storage casks, for eventual shipment to an HLW repository. Consumer Powers expects to ship heavily contaminated components to a federal HLW repository as well.
Dismantling is set to begin in 2027; Site restoration is to continue until 2030.


Water hammer damaged both injection valves and two pipe hangers on core spray.


Test: 2 of 6 safety relief valves had setpoints higher than allowed (one due to the disk sticking to the nozzle).


Test: a core spray valve only operated intermittently (problem with a torque switch).


EDG had a wiring error in the overcurrent protection logic which existed since 1977.