Apr 23, 2021
This week, PSEG Nuclear's Hope Creek Generating Station marked another uninterrupted 18-month production cycle and entered a planned refueling and maintenance outage after operators safely removed the unit from the regional power grid.
Hope Creek is one of three nuclear units operated by PSEG Nuclear in Salem County, New Jersey. Collectively, the combined Salem and Hope Creek generating site produces approximately 40% of the state's electricity and more than 90% of its carbon-free energy, making it a critical component of New Jersey's long-range clean energy objectives and climate change efforts.
In terms of output and performance, Hope Creek continues to set records and mark significant milestones in its 34th service year. The station generated approximately 14.6 million megawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity over the span of this most current 517-day cycle, which rates second all-time in the unit's history. For reliability and sustainability, PSEG Nuclear's three-unit New Jersey fleet is ranked as an industry leader for availability.
"For 517 consecutive days, Hope Creek produced clean, reliable, carbon-free energy to the residents of New Jersey," PSEG Nuclear President and Chief Nuclear Officer Eric Carr said. "Our plants are performing at the highest levels in our history because of the outstanding skills, dedication and teamwork of our workforce. Our union and non-union employees work together, day in and day out, to uphold an unwavering commitment to safety and operational excellence, which is reflected in this achievement."
A refueling and maintenance outage is a multi-week, comprehensive process involving thousands of inspections, surveillances and maintenance activities. In order to execute these sophisticated tasks, approximately 1,000 additional trade workers — representing more than a dozen unions — join the 1,600 PSEG employees for day-to-day operations.
The Hope Creek refueling and maintenance outage is the third for the PSEG nuclear fleet since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. To safeguard the welfare of the 1,600 year-round, on-site employees and the supplemental workforce contracted to perform specialty project assignments, PSEG Nuclear maintains a host of health and safety strategies.
Personnel adhere to robust physical distancing and personal protective equipment guidelines and uphold strict contact tracing and health screening protocols. Additionally, the organization implements deep cleaning and disinfecting techniques and has committed to flexible remote work arrangements in order to limit the number of personnel on-site.
Hundreds of contractors and craftspeople representing approximately 10 trade unions work alongside the PSEG employees during the maintenance and refueling outage. These individuals also frequent area businesses and rely on local service providers for the duration, having a significant impact on the local economy.
Benjamin Laury, chair, Salem County Commissioners: "The Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants are drivers of the South Jersey economy, and the members of the PSEG Nuclear workforce are part of the fabric of Salem County. Twice a year, these maintenance and refueling outages provide a boost to local businesses, and we always look forward to welcoming these skilled tradespeople back to our communities. PSEG's nuclear plants provide a foundation of safe, reliable and carbon-free energy for millions of homes and businesses throughout New Jersey, and we're proud of their best-in-class performance."
Daniel Cosner, business manager of IBEW Local 351 and president of the Southern New Jersey Construction and Building Trades Council: "Nuclear energy plays a vital role in meeting New Jersey's electricity needs, protecting the environment, and preserving fuel diversity. Our state's nuclear plants are responsible for $1.2 billion in economic activity every year and are an important source of steady, good-paying jobs – including hundreds of workers who belong to labor unions like the IBEW. Hope Creek's record-setting performance is a credit to the skills and dedication of the entire workforce."
Bill Mullen, president of the New Jersey Building & Construction Trades Council: "I'm proud of our organization's 150,000 members and the role we play in providing clean, safe and reliable electricity for millions of New Jersey homes and businesses – especially as we all work to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nuclear energy creates jobs and opportunities for local businesses, and contributes millions of dollars per year in state and local taxes. New Jersey Building Trades workforce is rightfully proud of its contributions to the state's green economy and its clean energy efforts."
Scott Campell, president and business manager, IBEW LU 94: "Together, the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants provide a livelihood for 1,600 direct employees. Hundreds of these jobs belong to union men and women, who serve in critical roles at the plant. Nuclear energy is an economic workhorse for Salem County and the entire state of New Jersey. And its benefits don't stop there. Nuclear also is important for clean air, for a healthy climate, and for the state's reliable, affordable electricity supply – and our members are proud of the role they play in providing these benefits."