Located on a hilltop overlooking the scenic Susquehanna River Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES) is a 2,630-megawatt facility with two boiling water reactors and two closed-cycle cooling towers. As a result of Extended Power Uprate (EPU) work, Susquehanna now proudly operates one of the largest Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) sites in the United States, generating more than 2,600 megawatts in total, at optimum conditions.
Susquehanna is located about seven miles north of Berwick and is owned jointly by Susquehanna Nuclear LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by Susquehanna Nuclear LLC, one of Talen Energy Corporation’s generating affiliates. For information, visit www.susquehannanuclear.com.
Pennsylvania Power & Light applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a construction permit in April 1971. The NRC issued the permit Nov. 2, 1973, and construction began later that month. Unit 1 began commercial operations in 1983 and Unit 2 in 1985. The units began generating electricity under 40-year operating licenses. In November 2009, following a rigorous process and review, the NRC granted a 20-year extension of the original licenses, allowing both Susquehanna units to operate until 2042 and 2044, respectively.
The 1,200-acre site located in Salem Township, Luzerne County, was selected for its stable geology, available cooling water from the Susquehanna River, accessible power supply lines to other parts of the service area and convenient highway and rail transportation. General Electric Co. designed the plant’s twin reactors. Bechtel Power Corp. served as the primary contractor.
With equipment and system upgrades completed during the 2010 and 2011 refueling and maintenance outage, respectively, Unit 1 and Unit 2 became the largest BWRs in terms of thermal power and generating capacity in the United States. When operating at 100 percent power, each unit has the capacity of 3,952 megawatts thermal (a measure of the heat produced in the reactor) and over 1,300 megawatts electrical (a measure of the electricity produced by the generator).