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NRC approves Duke's request for capacity uprate at SC nuclear plant

The U.S.Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved DukeEnergy Corp.'s request to increase the generating capacity of a reactorat the Catawba nuclearpower plant by 1.7%, or from 1,167 to 1,187 MW.

The federalagency announced May 4 that its staff evaluated plant operator Duke Energy's proposaland confirmed that the South Carolina plant could handle the increased output ofthe unit 1 reactor through "measurement uncertainty recapture," or moreaccurate means of measuring feed water flow with the help of ultrasonic devices.The Catawba plant is about 18 miles south of Charlotte, N.C., in York County, S.C.,and has an overall operating capacity of roughly 2,354 MW. Duke Energy intends toboost the capacity of unit 1 in May.

"Webelieve this to be an economical and environmentally sound way to meet the electricenergy needs of our customers," Duke Energy spokesman Scott Andresen said ina statement. "This uprate provides more energy, which translates into morecarbon-free electricity."

In additionto Duke Energy subsidiary Duke EnergyCarolinas LLC, Catawba is also owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1, and Piedmont Municipal Power Agency.