One way reliability is measured is by capacity factor, which is the amount of electricity actually produced compared with how much electricity would be produced if the plant operated at full capacity, 100 percent of the time.
In 2010, Limerick’s combined capacity factor was 94.4 percent, which is higher than other electricity source’s average capacity factors.
Keeping the plant modern ensures reliable plant operations. Limerick spends millions of dollars each year on capital projects to improve and modernize equipment and enhance plant operations and safety. Limerick recently upgraded or installed the following equipment:
- High pressure turbine inlet rings
- Feedwater heater control valves
- Leading edge flow meter (LEFM) installation for more accurate feedwater flow measurement
Limerick will spend approximately $94.7 million to replace the plant's six main power transformers. Transformers increase the voltage of the electricity that the station generates before it is sent to the power grid. Limerick Unit 2's three main power transformers were replaced in early 2011, while Unit 1's transformers will be replaced by 2016.
Uranium is Abundant
Nuclear energy uses uranium as its fuel, which is abundant and is of relatively low cost. It is also efficient. It does not take much uranium to power a plant from a volume standpoint. One uranium fuel pellet – about the size of the tip of an adult’s little finger – produces the same amount of energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, one ton of coal and three barrels of oil.