The River Bend nuclear power station located near St. Francisville, approximately 38km north-west of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, US, features a single 974MW boiling water reactor (BWR) unit commissioned in June 1986.
Owned and operated by Entergy, the power station completed 33 years of safe operations in June 2019 and has generated more than 225TWh of electricity operating at an average load factor of 81.9%.
Although the operating license for the River Bend nuclear reactor was due for expiry in 2025, it was renewed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an additional 20 years until August 2045, in December 2018.
The River Bend nuclear power plant (NPP) employs more than 700 people. Itoperates as a base load power station to meet approximately 10% of the total electricity demand in Louisiana.
River Bend nuclear power station details
The River Bend nuclear power station is developed on a 1,300ha-site located 3.2km away from the Mississippi River, in the West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.
Main construction works for the £2.6bn ($4.2bn) power plant were started in March 1977 and completed by October 1985.
The River Bend site was originally proposed to be developed with two similar reactor units. The River Bend Unit-2 plan was, however, cancelled in 1984.
Entergy also submitted an application to the NRC for a combined construction and operating license (COL) for an additional BWR unit named River Bend Unit-3 in September 2008, which was terminated in June 2016, following Entergy’s request to withdraw the application in December 2015.
River Bend NPP make-up and reactor details
The River Bend nuclear power station is equipped with a BWR Type 6 (BWR-6) reactor unit with Mark III containment as well as a steam turbine generator supplied by General Electric (GE).
The power station uses a closed-cycle cooling system with four 56ft-high mechanical draft cooling towers. The make-up water for the plant is sourced from the nearby Mississippi River.
The River Bend facility underwent a power upgrade to increase its generating capacity by 58MW, to 974MW, in 2003.
Fuel supply contract for the River Bend NPP
Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF), a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi, which has been supplying fuel for the River Bend reactor since 2008, was awarded a $250m new long-term fuel contract for the River Bend nuclear power station in May 2018.
GNF will refuel the River Bend reactor with its latest and most advanced fuel assembly GNF3 for ten times from 2019 through 2031, under the contract.
The GNF3 fuel assembly is fabricated at the company’s Wilmington state-of-the-art facility in North Carolina, US.
Entergy was declared to be the first customer to take the delivery of GNF3 fuel product in reload quantities for its River Bend BWR unit starting from 2019.
Other contractors involved
The reactor and the turbine generator for the River Bend nuclear power station were manufactured by General Electric (GE), while Stone and Webster (now a subsidiary of Westinghouse) was the engineering, design, and construction contractor.
APTIM, an engineering, programme management and environmental services company based in Texas, has been engaged to provide modification and maintenances services to Entergy for the River Bend nuclear station.
Earlier, in 2006, Black & Veatch was engaged to assist Entergy in the analysis and preparation for a combined construction and operating license (COL) for the River Bend Unit-3.