News Release
December 15, 2003


SENECA, S.C.  – Oconee Nuclear Station has become the first nuclear facility in the country to generate 500 million megawatt-hours of electricity.

To put this accomplishment into perspective, Oconee has generated enough power to supply electricity to every house in South Carolina for more than 20 years*.

Oconee’s output could have met an individual homeowner’s electricity needs for more than 41 million years.

All this has been done safely, reliably and without the emission of greenhouse gases.

“We have an excellent team at Oconee, and we are dedicated to meeting our customers’ need for safe, reliable, efficient electricity,” said Ron Jones, station vice president. “Day in and day out, our commitment never wavers. That’s how we achieve such remarkable milestones.”  

It’s nothing new for Oconee to be leading the industry in generation. On June 8, 1981, Oconee was first to reach the milestone of 100 million megawatt-hours. In 1993, it surpassed 300 million net megawatt-hours.

The station has been a model of reliability and efficiency.

In 2000, all three of its units operated simultaneously for 179 consecutive days, smashing the station’s old record of 126 days set in 1995. The Nuclear Energy Institute, which tracks nuclear industry performance, could find no other three-unit station in the country that had put together a more impressive run. Oconee concluded its record-breaking performance Nov. 23, 2000, when unit 1 was taken out of service for a regularly scheduled refueling outage.

In 2002, the station realized its highest-ever capacity factor, 93.03 percent, and greatest production, nearly 20.7 million megawatt-hours of electricity. 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 it means more electricity is being provided by nuclear generation, which has lower fuel costs. This means stable electric rates. Duke Power customers are paying basically the same rate for electricity as in 1986.

Oconee is in the middle of a $1 billion refurbishment project to ensure its safety, reliability and efficiency well into the 21st century. The station in 2000 became just the second nuclear facility in the country to have its licenses extended by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an additional 20 years.

Oconee Nuclear Station is a three-unit power plant located on Lake Keowee, near Seneca, S.C. Each of its units is rated at 846 megawatts. Oconee unit 1 began commercial operation in 1973, units 2 and 3 in 1974.

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 two 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:

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:

*According to the 2000 U.S. census, there are 1,753,670 homes in South Carolina. The average home uses one megawatt-hour of electricity per month or 12 megawatt-hours per year. This means it takes 21,044,040 megawatt-hours per year to serve all of the homes in South Carolina. Dividing this by 500 million megawatt-hours equals 23.76 years.

Contact: Dayle Stewart
Phone: 864/885-4600
24-Hour Phone: 704/382-8333