News Release
August 13, 2003

CATAWBA LEADS NATIONAL WAVE OF NUCLEAR PROFICIENCY

YORK, S.C. – Catawba Nuclear Station led the nation in generating efficiency in 2002, according to a survey conducted by trade publication Platts’ Nucleonics Week.

Based on documentation filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Catawba’s operations and maintenance (O&M) costs were $11.33 per megawatt-hour, the lowest in the country.

The median cost for all nuclear stations providing information to FERC was $15.89 per megawatt-hour, also the lowest it has ever been. Forty-three stations submitted data to FERC, 22 did not, according to Platts.

Duke Power’s McGuire Nuclear Station in Huntersville, N.C., was 10th on the list with O&M costs of $13.54 per megawatt-hour, and Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C., was 16th at $15.37 per megawatt-hour.

Duke Power operated stations saved more than $193 million in O&M expenses compared to similarly-sized facilities operating at the median cost. Catawba’s savings alone exceeded $92 million.

Both Oconee and McGuire had two refueling outages in 2002, increasing their O&M costs. Catawba had just one refueling outage.  

The nuclear fleet operated by Duke Power had its greatest year in history in 2002. Company-operated nuclear stations had a combined capacity factor of 95.21 percent, considerably above the company’s previous best of 92.33 percent set in 2000. The average nuclear capacity factor in the United States in 2002 was 91.5 percent, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. Capacity factor is the measure of how much electricity is produced, compared with the amount of electricity a unit is capable of producing, within a given time period.

A high nuclear capacity factor is beneficial to the customer because more electricity is being provided by low-cost nuclear generation. This contributes to stable electric rates.

Duke Power operates seven nuclear units – three at Oconee and two each at Catawba and McGuire – which generated almost 58.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity in 2002, more than 1.5 million megawatt-hours greater than the company’s previous high of 56.7 million megawatt-hours in 2000.

Here are some other records set in 2002 by Duke Power operated nuclear stations:

  • The company’s lowest-ever system production costs -- $13.44 per megawatt-hour, compared to the previous best of $13.99 per megawatt-hour set in 2000.
  • Catawba shattered its capacity factor record at 99.36 percent, considerably better than the previous mark of 93.79 percent set in 2001. Consequently, the station generated more electricity than ever before, almost 19.7 million megawatt-hours.
  • At McGuire, both unit 1 and unit 2 set individual records for most efficient refueling outages. Unit 1 accomplished its mark in 26 days, six hours, 12 minutes; and unit 2 in 32 days, six hours, 42 minutes. Shorter refueling outages combined with excellent reliability increase a nuclear station’s ability to generate electricity.
  • And at Oconee, the station realized its highest-ever capacity factor, 93.03 percent and greatest production, nearly 20.7 million megawatt-hours of electricity.

“While our numbers are excellent, we continue to seek ways to improve,” said Dhiaa Jamil, Catawba’s site vice president. “The region is going through difficult economic times, and we’re doing everything we can to control the cost of electricity. Our employees and management have worked safely and efficiently, and the results are evident.”

Outstanding performances are continuing in 2003. To date, three units have been continuously operating for more than 300 days, another unit has been operating more than 200 consecutive days, and two units have been on line for more than 100 days.

Catawba Nuclear Station is jointly owned by North Carolina Municipal Power Agency Number 1, North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation, Piedmont Municipal Power Agency, Saluda River Electric Cooperative Inc and Duke Power. McGuire and Oconee are both owned and operated by Duke Power.

Duke Power, a business unit of Duke Energy, is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities and provides safe, reliable, competitively priced electricity to more than 2 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. Duke Power operates three nuclear generating stations, eight coal-fired stations, 31 hydroelectric stations and numerous combustion turbine units. Total system generating capability is approximately 19,900 megawatts. More information about Duke Power is available on the Internet at: www.dukepower.com.

Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses – meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

Contact: Tom Shiel
Phone: 704/373-6396
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
e-mail: tpshiel@duke-energy.com