Nuclear Power Is The Core Of Exelon Operation Engineering Essay

Nuclear Power Is The Core Of Exelon Operation Engineering Essay

The aspect issues of sustainability are divided into environmental, societal and economical. Environmentally, the inquiries of atomic works safety, spent fuel disposal and uncertainty on whether atomic energy is truly renewable are raised. Public position on atomic energy safety is worsen because of Fukushima catastrophe and Belgium cracked vas. It uncovers their uncertainty on the renewable facet of atomic, age and types of our reactors. Social issues include security of our workss due to US history with terrorist act, Bin Laden death and public anti-nuclear motion, back uping by some developed states determination to phase out atomic energy. Economic issues talk about the coming election which might take to a rebuff, possible downswing, production cost of atomic power, high costs of waste intervention, high compensation cost in catastrophe instance, and Exelon trust on atomic power which would present menace to the company if unexpected shut down of all atomic workss happened.

In order to work out some of the issues above, we came up with three groups of recommendations. First, the safety issues should be solved by holding 5 adept squads to look into on our 10 bing workss, making frequent care, practising exigency drills 3 times/year, upgrading old reactors with new Passive Containment Cooling System, buying Generation III reactors for new workss, and minimise human interaction by utilizing automatons. The 2nd set of recommendations is on atomic waste intervention. More focal point should be given to R & A ; D to develop a spent fuel disposal system and the authorities Waste Isolation Pilot Plant can be used as a guideline for the research. The last recommendation set is on presenting new runing sectors to our portfolio. The first option is geothermic energy which has already in usage in several states. The 2nd option is atomic merger reaction which is assuring but still in development stage.AA

2. Introduction

Nuclear power is the nucleus of Exelon operation for many old ages. In the past decennary, we have been witnessing rapid alterations both worldwide and countrywide. These alterations bring new chances every bit good as menaces. In order to remain relevant, remain true to our sustainability ends, Exelon needs to understand the jobs come with these alterations, take preventative stairss to protect and do certain the company is on path with its ends. This study is divided into 3 chief parts, company background, sustainability issues, recommendations to turn to the issues and executions. The research is done chiefly through the usage of secondary informations including surveies, intelligence, authorities and industry association web sites.

3. Background

3.1 Missions:

“ The Exelon household of companies strives for the highest criterions of power coevals, bringing and sweeping selling. We are committed to supplying superior value for our clients, employees, investors and the communities we serve ” ( Exelon, 2011 ) .

3.2 Goals:

“ Exelon Nuclear is committed to being the best operator of atomic workss worldwide:

Puting the industry benchmark for operational excellence to accomplish safe atomic operations

Supplying high degrees of dependable coevals

Beating other power providers on cost

Asserting atomic industry leading

Optimizing the value of our assets

Keeping a skilled work force through uninterrupted development, balance and answerability ” ( Exelon, 2011 )

3.3 Company facts:

Exelon operates 17 reactors at 10 workss situated in Illinois, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Our company has portions in 4 other workss in Maryland, New York and New Jersey. Nuclear energy accounted for 92 % of Exelon entire end product and 20 % of state atomic energy production. Our diverse portfolio includes hydroelectric, solar, air current, landfill gas and fossil fuel.

2011 Exelon Portfolio – Owned Generation Output

Fig. 1. Exelon Portfolio – Owned Generation Output 2011, ( Exelon, 2011 )

Exelon is financially strong and reputable. The operating gross of 2011 was $ 32.7 billion with $ 74.5 billion in entire assets and approximately 27,000 employees. In the list of 2000 universe ‘s largest, most powerful public companies of 2011 by Forbes Magazine, Exelon took place the No. 1 topographic point ( Exelon, 2012 ) .

Exelon strives to be a sustainable company and we have been working difficult towards that end. So far, what we have done are following US Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA ) regulations on clean air, cross-state air pollution, toxic waste, following to US Nuclear Regulatory Commission ( NRC ) ordinances on safety, security, heightening protection to chilling system, backup power for atomic reactors, spent fuel storage, fixing multiple exigency programs for unexpected events, affecting in several corporate societal duty plans and conveying in high net income ( Exelon, 2011 ) .


The three chief facets of sustainability to be discussed here include environmental, societal and economical sustainability. You may desire to mention to Appendix A for the PESTLE analysis which provides a wide position on the environment we operate in.

4.1. Environmental

The Fukushima atomic escape happened in 2011 was triggered by a 9.0 temblor and a 15-metre tsunami. The temblor cut down electric supply of the country. The inundation disabled the back-up power generator and without power, the chilling system stopped working doing the meltdown. The escape revealed many jobs sing atomic workss safety steps which alerted the universe populace and worsened the repute of atomic workss. The two chief workss involved in the calamity were non built at a sufficient highs to avoid the tsunami. The Daiichi and Daini workss are at 10 meters and 13 meters above sea degree severally whereas the moving ridge was 15 meters high. Furthermore, the storage pools for used atomic fuel rods, placed above the reactor, ran low on chilling H2O and exploded. 23 radiation monitoring Stationss on the site were destroyed by the inundation go forthing merely 1 decently functioned. It created job in tracking radioactive emanation ( World Nuclear Association, 2012 ) . The wake of the catastrophe is lay waste toing. On environmental point of position, the country environing the workss will be inhabitable for a few decennaries. On concern point of position, TEPCO, the works proprietor, would still transport on for a few old ages to pay up compensation measures to the victims with the aid of the authorities ( Kubota & A ; Hamada, 2011 ) . It has already lost all good will and would probably to travel bankrupt. The event damaged the image of atomic power therefore as an energy manufacturer trusting to a great extent on atomic power, we are greatly affected by this catastrophe.

Earthquake is largely created by the motions of tectonic home bases. Once an temblor occurs, it is likely that a tsunami will be created to attach to the temblor. US lies on the North American Plate. There are assorted plate hit country environing the continent therefore temblor and tsunami are ineluctable. Exelon atomic reactors were placed in the East, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The North American Plate collides with 4 other home bases on the East and South East side ( United States Geological Survey, 2012 ) . Therefore, Exelon atomic workss are besides in danger zone. Historical information of the provinces with Exelon reactors show the highest temblor magnitude of 5.2 to 5.8 ( Unted States Geological Survey, 2012 ) which is still within our safety step but we need to take into history, the Earth is a invariably altering topographic point.

The atomic reactors used in Fukushima workss are Generation II, Mark I boiling-water reactor ( BWR ) containment, made by General Electric in the 70s ( Mosk, 2011 ) . These reactors are old, non to the full automated and failed three times in Fukushima instance ( Smith, 2012 ) . Exelon owns one atomic reactor of the same type in Dresden Nuclear Power Plant in Chicago ( Associated Press, 2012 ) . On a more recent note, one atomic reactor in Belgium was shut down due to a possible cleft on the vas. The reactor dates back to 1982 ( Digges, 2012 ) . Nuclear reactors have an mean lifetime about 40 old ages ( Hargreaves, 2011 ) . Even though, our works safety design is high, the fact that about all of our reactors are dated back in the 70s and 80s will surely raise uncertainty in refering public.

Another issue of atomic power works is the intervention and disposal of exhausted atomic fuel. Even though, the production of atomic power does non breathe green house gases. It does nevertheless creates non-degradable, atomic active wastes that can merely be treated by dumping and chilling off in exhausted atomic pools so reassigning into dry cask storage after at least 3 old ages in the pools ( United States Nuclear Regulatory Commision, 2012 ) . These intervention processs although comply with the NRC opinion but still pose possible menaces in many facets. Environmentally, the wastes are still atomic active. If catastrophe strokes the storage country, there would be hazard of atomic escapes or detonation like in Fukushima instance, which might let go of radioactive emanation and destroyed the environing environment.

The natural stuffs used in production of atomic energy are Th and U ( United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2012 ) . These are resources which do non renew rapidly in natural environments and edge to be depleted someday. Though the power creates by atomic reactors seems to be tremendous and limitless, atomic energy is in fact non-renewable.

4.2. Sociable

US is ever under the hazard of terrorist onslaughts. The battle between US and terrorist organisations reached its boiling point on September 11th, 2001, originating a long, ongoing war period which consequences in rapid alterations to the universe. Nuclear workss are vulnerable to terrorist onslaughts. The amendss created by an attacked atomic works can be merely every bit lay waste toing as any atomic catastrophes happened in the yesteryear. The recent decease of al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, might trip a retaliation program from the Muslim terrorist communities towards United States ( BBC, 2011 ) . Their programs are unknown to us but we must aware of the truth that our workss and exhausted fuel storage installations are vulnerable.

The current major societal tendency is “ green ” . Customers are knowing on footings like planetary heating, renewable energy and C footmark. Internet enables a free flow of cognition which besides contributes to the lifting popularity of the tendency. There is a heavy force per unit area on concerns to follow the tendency and Exelon is no exclusion. In 2011, Germany proposed their program of phasing out the atomic power by 2022 for more sustainable, renewable beginnings ( Morgan, 2011 ) . Belgium and Switzerland are besides following a same program ( Digges, 2012 ) . These intelligence together with information on Fukushima incidents will catch the attending of American populace. There would be a possibility that the public might demand the same program to be implemented in US, therefore would make problem to us since 92 % of energy generated from our workss is from atomic energy ( Exelon, 2011 ) .

4.3. Economic

The coming election is a possible menace on the economic system. The state is easy retrieving from the Global Financial Crisis. The 2012 election might take to a alteration of power and a little economic system downswing. A stable political system would be more favourable in this province. On a brighter note, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are protagonists of atomic energy with promised loan for atomic energy undertakings ( Nuclear Energy Institute, 2012 ) .

Nuclear power is believed by the bulk as the cheap and sustainable option to traditional energy generators. This is still a problematic subject. Harmonizing to Taylor ( 2012 ) , the cost of bring forthing air current power is in fact lower than atomic power. The freshly arisen issues on atomic power discussed in this study can be rather dearly-won to work out. As mentioned under environmental issues, there are jobs of atomic wastes. The more atomic fuel rods are spent, the more expensive the cost of storage becomes. These rods are non-degradable so high hive awaying cost is expected. The compensation costs in instance catastrophe happened can be highly high and will damage the repute of the company. Repute is important because unlike other states in the universe, in US there are many energy companies and none of us holds the ultimate power.

Exelon has a strong trust on the atomic sector with 92 % energy generated from atomic workss in 2011 ( Exelon, 2011 ) . This is non healthy for such a large company because if something go incorrect and all atomic workss have to close down, we will be profoundly affected without any backup solution.

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5.1. Solving Safety Issues

To go on on atomic development path, the first major issue we have to work out is safety of reactors and atomic wastes.

Measure 1: Safety appraisal

This is a clip devouring and proficient demanding undertaking. We can make 5 squads of atomic applied scientist experts to execute close scrutiny of our 10 atomic workss and their waste storage. Detailed study would assist us prioritise our focal point and develop clear action program.

* Timeline: Immediate

Measure 2: Perform safety betterments

For bing atomic reactors, we need changeless works care, particularly, the reactor, waste pools, chief power and backup power system. Power failures are non needfully occurred due to unforeseeable events but can besides by simple carelessness. Daily care is of import to guarantee such little jobs will non go on and upset the company operation and the populace. Frequent preparation and exigency drills need to be conducted at least three times per twelvemonth to guarantee accurate response from our staff.

First precedence for safety betterment is the chilling of reactor nucleus. In exigency instance, there is a high chance of power lost. The chilling system will be affected and our chief safety issue is to do certain the reactor will non overheat and run down for every bit long as possible without chief electricity. Generation III plus reactor, specifically Westinghouse AP1000 PWR, is a executable pick to alter our old reactors or construct new atomic workss. This new coevals has higher safety characteristics such as, automated response to halt atomic reaction without the demands of human intercession, no power required for safe closure, 72-hour automated chilling system without works operator and machine-controlled H2O eating system for exhausted fuel pools ( Westinghouse, n.d. ) . These new betterments ( called Passive Containment Cooling System ) will give works operator more clip to believe and response sagely in exigency. For current workss with drawn-out licences, we can negociate with Westinghouse to change and upgrade our Gen II reactors with their Passive Containment Cooling System alternatively of replacing the whole reactor.

Another precedence is minimising human interaction in atomic workss. Artificial General Intelligence engineering has become more sophisticated. The development of new stuffs gives high lastingness to Artificial Intelligence ( AI ) creatures ; come in assorted designs, so they can work in extremely risky, highly-radiated, little and odd-shaped countries where homo can non make. At Duke Energy, Zetec ‘s ZR-100 automaton is used to roll up public presentation informations inside the generator ( Nuclear Energy Institute, 2012 ) . We can secure readily available automatons to assist in day-to-day operation and fund promising AI undertakings, particularly those for catastrophe scenarios.

* Timeline: Immediate

Measure 3: Apply for authorities administrative blessing, inform the stakeholders and general populace

Once the determinations on safety betterments were made and the elaborate action program was ready, we need to use for blessing from authorities and industry regulators. Since the engineering is already in execution the spread clip for blessing should non be excessively long. The estimated clip for this measure would be 1 twelvemonth. If the alterations prove to be favourable amongst industry regulators, we could get down go arounding the information on these alterations to other stakeholders and the media.

* TimeLine: 1 Year

5.2. Nuclear waste intervention

Measure 1: Researching on possible waste intervention undertakings

Spent fuel disposal is a beginning to many jobs. There are no current solutions to recycle or wholly extinguish the waste. At Exelon, we will work with the industry experts to happen a lasting solution and give support to atomic scientists for researches of waste intervention. US Department of Energy ‘s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant ( WIPP ) is the most well-received program up to day of the month. Nuclear waste is placed in major container, buried over 655 metres belowground, in salt bed and isolated in the Chihuahuan Desert. These dry storage installations guarantee no radioactive substance can be washed of and escaped from the containment. The atomic waste will easy be sealed by salt through salt formation procedure therefore poses no menace to the environing environment. However, this works is for disposal of radioactive waste from military defence with highly-dangerous Pu radioactive isotopes merely ( United States Department of Energy, n.d. ) . Though this is non opened for commercial utilizations, it gives possible way towards developing better handling of exhausted atomic fuels that we can establish on.

* TimeLine: 3 Old ages

Measure 2: Presenting and proving executable undertakings under the proctor of atomic scientists and industry regulators for blessing

Once the possible undertakings are readied for scientific discipline acknowledgment, we will show it and run trial to science community and industry organisations. Upon their blessing, we can work towards achieving for undertaking licence from the authorities.

* TimeLine: 3 Old ages

Measure 3: Communicating new undertaking to public

With the blessing from parties adverting above, we could convey the succeeded undertaking to media visible radiation. We had to educate the populace on the positive significance of the undertaking particularly to the people of the province where our waste intervention works would be placed. The support of neighbouring communities is of import for any undertaking to transport on smoothly.

* TimeLine: 4 Old ages

Measure 4: Constructing the new waste intervention program

We would do certain that the atomic intervention works got province of the art building squad and engineering with all defense-in-depth characteristics required for the security of atomic works.

* TimeLine: 3 Old ages

5.3. Development and Introduction of new renewable beginnings of energy

Measure 1: Keeping close ticker on new renewable energy researches and geting new undertakings

Presently, there are two possible energy undertakings which Exelon can see. The first undertaking is geothermic energy, utilizing the heat from the Earth nucleus to power the turbines and generate electricity. This is non a new undertaking but it is a assuring renewable energy beginning. The Earth nucleus invariably bring forthing extreme heat through the motion of magma. The power we can bring forth from it is illimitable. Unlike atomic energy, geothermic energy is safer. It is non a menace to animals in the ecosystem. Compared to weave and solar energy, which will halt bring forthing power if there is no air current or sunshine, geothermic energy can bring forth energy for 24 hours a twenty-four hours ( European Geothermal Energy Council, n.d. ) .

The 2nd undertaking is atomic merger reaction. This undertaking creates energy through retroflexing the activity in the Sun nucleus where atoms move and collide to bring forth sunshine. This undertaking began in 1985 and the building for the first site started in 2010 in France. It is funded by EU, India, Japan, Russia, China, South Korea and US. If the undertaking is successfully commence, it will be one of the biggest discovery in history for it promises immense energy with no nursery gas emanation, waste, no air pollution and per se safe ( ITER Organisation, 2012 ) .

These two renewable energy beginnings are fit with Exelon portfolio and strategic vision. With the hazard of atomic energy stage out as seen in many developed states, we might necessitate to set our energy coevals pie and halt trusting to a great extent on old atomic energy production. We can open a few geothermal workss foremost. For the ITER undertaking, we still have to wait for their launch, assess the costs and feasibleness of the undertaking.

Measure 2: Choosing works site, using for licence and informing the populace

For geothermic energy works, we can put them near our bing workss in Illinois or Pennsylvania. The site for ITER atomic merger works will necessitate more assessment because it will be a extremely of import investing so we need to take an country with minimum hazard particularly natural catastrophes. We need to carry the authorities to let us being the first to implement new ITER engineering. Once we applied for licence, we would inform the populace on our new moves towards a sustainable hereafter.

Measure 3: Constructing of new workss

6. Decision

Exelon is a strong company and we are working difficult to be a sustainable concern. However, our heavy focal point on atomic energy is demoing some serious jobs which escalated by new events such as Fukushima calamity. Some major jobs mentioned in the study, including safety of atomic workss, waste intervention and alterations in societal perceptual experience of atomic energy, are important jobs that need to be addressed and solved decently. We need to revise our focal point and decrease the trust on individual beginning of operation. Introducing new points into our portfolio and diversifying our focal point to others will do our company less vulnerable to alterations and therefore go more sustainable in the procedure.

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