BRIDGMAN, Mich., Oct. 24, 2008
– Initial inspections and disassembly of the main turbine are complete at American Electric Power’s (NYSE: AEP) Cook Nuclear Plant Unit 1, out of service since Sept. 20 after vibrations, likely caused by a broken low pressure turbine blade, damaged the main turbine. The vibration also caused a hydrogen leak, resulting in a fire in the main generator that caused minimal damage to the facility.
The turbine rotors and other major components have been shipped to the original manufacturers for engineering analysis and repair. AEP expects to have a return-to-service schedule and cost estimates for the unit by late November.
”We are working diligently with Siemens and General Electric to develop accurate cost estimates and timelines to bring Unit 1 back into service,” said Michael G. Morris, AEP’s chairman president and chief executive officer. “Having one of our Cook units out of service is unfortunate, but a significant portion of the cost will be recovered through the vendor warranty and our insurance.”
Cook Unit 1 has three low pressure turbines manufactured by Siemens and one General Electric high pressure turbine and main generator. The low pressure turbine rotors, casings and other support equipment have been shipped to the Siemens turbine facility in Charlotte, N.C., to determine whether the components will be repaired or replaced.
The high pressure turbine rotor has been shipped to a General Electric facility in Chicago and is undergoing similar assessments. Disassembly of the main generator is also complete. The generator rotor will be shipped to the GE facility in Chicago next week for testing and repair. Initial electrical testing of the generator rotor and stator has not detected any major issues. Generator parts, such as high voltage bushings and current transformers damaged during the event have been ordered.
At the site, AEP personnel have developed a schedule for the remaining inspections and completion of repairs on other plant equipment such as associated turbine piping and insulation, turbine bearings and turbine plant motors and pumps. In addition, cleaning of broken insulation in the turbine building, water from fire suppression and oil released from the turbine lube oil system during the event will be done. The oil was contained within plant systems during the event resulting in no impact to the environment.
Some of the turbine restoration work is being done by AEP’s Central Machine Shop. Components have been shipped to their facility in Charleston, W.Va., and they are also performing repair work at the plant.
Siemens and GE are working to deliver parts and perform repairs. Once parts delivery and repair estimates are completed, they will be integrated into the plant schedule and AEP will release a return to service timeline and total cost estimate.
AEP maintains property insurance with a $1 million deductible. AEP also maintains a separate accidental outage policy whereby, after a 12-week deductible period, the company is entitled to weekly payments of $3.5 million during the outage period for a covered loss. The turbines causing the vibration were installed in 2006 and are under warranty from the vendor. The warranty provides for the replacement of the turbines if the damage was caused by a defect in the design or assembly of the turbines. A root cause analysis of the event is being completed by Siemens and an independent party.
Cook Unit 1 is rated at 1,030 megawatts (MW) net. Unit 2 continues to operate at full power and is rated at 1,070 MW net.
The turbine and generator are in the Turbine Building and are separate from the nuclear reactor that is located in the Containment Building. The nuclear systems were unaffected by the event. AEP has sufficient reserve generating capacity to ensure the continued reliable supply of electric generation to customers.
American Electric Power is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation’s largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the U.S. AEP also owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system, a nearly 39,000-mile network that includes more 765-kilovolt extra-high voltage transmission lines than all other U.S. transmission systems combined. AEP’s transmission system directly or indirectly serves about 10 percent of the electricity demand in the Eastern Interconnection, the interconnected transmission system that covers 38 eastern and central U.S. states and eastern Canada, and approximately 11 percent of the electricity demand in ERCOT, the transmission system that covers much of Texas. AEP’s utility units operate as AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana and east Texas). AEP’s headquarters are in Columbus, Ohio.
This report made by American Electric Power and its Registrant Subsidiaries contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although AEP and each of its Registrant Subsidiaries believe that their expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, any such statements may be influenced by factors that could cause actual outcomes and results to be materially different from those projected. Among the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are: electric load and customer growth; weather conditions, including storms; available sources and costs of, and transportation for, fuels and the creditworthiness and performance of fuel suppliers and transporters; availability of generating capacity and the performance of AEP’s generating plants; AEP’s ability to recover regulatory assets and stranded costs in connection with deregulation; AEP’s ability to recover increases in fuel and other energy costs through regulated or competitive electric rates; AEP’s ability to build or acquire generating capacity (including the ability to obtain any necessary regulatory approvals and permits) when needed at acceptable prices and terms and to recover those costs (including the costs of projects that are canceled) through applicable rate cases or competitive rates; new legislation, litigation and government regulation, including requirements for reduced emissions of sulfur, nitrogen, mercury, carbon, soot or particulate matter and other substances; timing and resolution of pending and future rate cases, negotiations and other regulatory decisions (including rate or other recovery of new investments in generation, distribution and transmission service and environmental compliance); resolution of litigation (including disputes arising from the bankruptcy of Enron Corp. and related matters); AEP’s ability to constrain operation and maintenance costs; the economic climate and growth or contraction in AEP’s service territory and changes in market demand and demographic patterns; inflationary and interest rate trends; volatility in the financial markets, particularly developments affecting the availability of capital on reasonable terms and developments impacting AEP’s ability to refinance existing debt at attractive rates; AEP’s ability to develop and execute a strategy based on a view regarding prices of electricity, natural gas and other energy-related commodities; changes in the creditworthiness of the counterparties with whom AEP has contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy trading markets; actions of rating agencies, including changes in the ratings of debt; volatility and changes in markets for electricity, natural gas, coal, nuclear fuel and other energy-related commodities; changes in utility regulation, including the implementation of the recently passed utility law in Ohio and the allocation of costs within regional transmission organizations; accounting pronouncements periodically issued by accounting standard-setting bodies; the impact of volatility in the capital markets on the value of the investments held by AEP’s pension, other postretirement benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust and the impact on future funding requirements; prices for power that AEP generates and sells at wholesale; changes in technology, particularly with respect to new, developing or alternative sources of generation; and other risks and unforeseen events, including wars, the effects of terrorism (including increased security costs), embargoes and other catastrophic events.