Fort St. Vrain (USA)

Map of Fort St. Vrain

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HTGR 330 MW shutdown 1989

Facilities in Fort St. Vrain

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
Fort St.. VrainHTGR196819761989
1996-03-28

Public Service Co. (PSC) of Colorado and its partners have removed all low-level radioactive waste (LLW) from Fort St. Vrain.
The decommissioning work was finished several months ahead of schedule and under the estimated $189-million budget, the company said. Some monitoring work remains.
About 3900 m³. of LLW - including graphite blocks, support structures and concrete - were removed from the shut down gas-cooled reactor over the past three-and-a-half years and shipped to US Ecology Enc.'s disposal facility in Richland, Wash. The last of the radioactive material was taken away last month.
Through August, PSC will conduct final site release survey work, which involves monitoring tens of thousands of spots in and around the plant for above-background radiation levels.
Fort St. Vrain is the first long-term operating, commercial nuclear reactor in America to be decommissioned. The 330-MW unit began life as a DOE demonstration plant in 1973. Taken over by PSC in 1979 and run as a commercial entity, the plant was a poor performer and perpetual money-loser until PSC closed it in 1989.

1995-11-20

DOE and Public Service Co. of Colorado (PSC) have signed an agreement in principle that could commit DOE to paying $16-million of PSC´s cost of storing Fort St. Vrain fuel on site.
The 1.464 graphite fuel segments will now be taken in an independent spent fuel storage installation at the former DOE demonstration plant.
Public Service Co. (PSC) of Colorado and its partners have removed all low-level radioactive waste (LLW) from Fort St. Vrain.
The decommissioning work was finished several months ahead of schedule and under the estimated $189-million budget, the company said. Some monitoring work remains.
About 3900 m³. of LLW - including graphite blocks, support structures and concrete - were removed from the shut down gas-cooled reactor over the past three-and-a-half years and shipped to US Ecology Enc.'s disposal facility in Richland, Wash. The last of the radioactive material was taken away last month.
Through August, PSC will conduct final site release survey work, which involves monitoring tens of thousands of spots in and around the plant for above-background radiation levels.
Fort St. Vrain is the first long-term operating, commercial nuclear reactor in America to be decommissioned. The 330-MW unit began life as a DOE demonstration plant in 1973. Taken over by PSC in 1979 and run as a commercial entity, the plant was a poor performer and perpetual money-loser until PSC closed it in 1989.
In October, DOE and Idaho agreed to a consent order that stated spent fuel could be shipped to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL) only if the fuel required special treatment before it could be placed in interim storage or a repository. A second condition was that a repository had to be taking some of the spent fuel already stored there. Nuclear Navy fuel as well as earlier fuel shipments from Fort St. Vrain are now at INEL.
DOE estimated that it would cost approximately $31-million to construct a dry storage facility at INEL to take the Fort St. Vrain fuel and $10-million to ship the fuel there. The best plan, DOE said, is to leave the fuel at the reactor site until it can be moved to a repository. The agreement in principle specifies that only Fort St. Vrain fuel will be stored at the plant .
In 1991, PSC built a $25-million dry storage system for spent fuel it bought from Foster Wheeler Energy Applications Inc. Roughly 67% of the fuel covered under the 1965 contract is stored there.

1995-06-15

Colorado Utility Begins Converting Nuclear Plant to Gas Fuel :
At June 15 Public Service Company of Colorado begins the transformation of Fort St. Vrain. The former nuclear power plant, which never performed as expected, will be converted to natural gas fuel over the next four years. It is expected to produce 10 percent of the utility's peak electricity demand by 1999.

"This is an insurance policy for the company to meet peak demand, said Mark Stutz, a PSC spokesman. "We're getting the history of the nuclear plant behind us."
St Vrain initially cost $224 million and took almost a decade to build. But it only operated 15 percent of the time between 1979 and 1989. The ongoing decommissioning will cost $157 million, about 80 percent to be paid by ratepayers through 2006.

The recycled plant will use $68 million in existing assets, including a 330 megawatt steam turbine generator. A megawatt powers a community of 1,000. The first 130 megawatt phase of construction is expected to be completed by next May. Another 102 megawatts will be added by May of 1998, with the final 239 megawatts humming by May of 1999.

``The first phase of the repowering will cost more, but overall, it's a good use of old assets, said Ron Binz, the director of the Office of Consumer
Counsel, which challenges rate filings by regulated utilities such as PSC.
Approval for the repowering was given last summer by the Public Utilities Commission, which reasoned that PSC needs new capacity to keep up with a 3 percent annual growth rate. Advocates of renewable energy, such as wind turbines, objected.

Stutz said that PSC, which is pursuing some renewable test projects, needs the Fort St. Vrain repowering to help meet peak-demand energy needs, particularly in the summertime. He said the utility is sometimes required to buy power out of state, and also has obligations to buy electricity produced from independent power plants within Colorado.