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KVOE News granted access inside Wolf Creek as current outage continues Featured

Part of KVOE News' recent tour to the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant near Burlington included time in the training simulator (pictured) as well as time observing the plant's reactor and turbines. Part of KVOE News' recent tour to the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant near Burlington included time in the training simulator (pictured) as well as time observing the plant's reactor and turbines. Erren Harter/KVOE Radio

Wolf Creek continues its 23rd refueling outage, and KVOE News got a unique look at the plant in outage mode earlier this month.


KVOE News was granted access to several areas of the nuclear plant, including the training simulator, reactor and turbine -- right before plant staff and contractors began reloading fuel into the reactor vessel. Outages are planned about every 18 months, according to plant manager BJ Bayer.

Bayer says certain projects are required with each outage. He also says the process to set the project list begins well before a scheduled outage and involves several departments.



Wolf Creek began producing power in 1985. When it was built, it was owned by Westar Energy, KCP&L and KepCo. The merger of Westar and KCP&L into Evergy has led to several administrative efficiencies for Wolf Creek, notably in centralizing functions like human resources, finances, accounting, supply chain management and information services.

Wolf Creek generates around 1,200 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 800,000 homes by heating and pressurizing water -- keeping it around 650 degrees without boiling. The plant has nearly 200 fuel assemblies.

In order to keep the plant operating safely, Bayer says redundancy is a vital aspect of operations.



Wolf Creek employs around 850 people, with as many as 800 "supplemental workers" at the plant to help with outages like the one now underway. It is also involved in local and area community matters, with employees giving over $4 million to the United Way of the Flint Hills since 1997 and its more recent involvement organizing Burlington's Party in the Park.



The plant went into outage mode last month and could return to normal operations mode in the next few weeks.

 

Photos by Erren Harter and Chuck Samples/KVOE News

Photos by Justin Daily/Wolf Creek

Video by Chuck Samples/KVOE News

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Last modified on Thursday, 24 October 2019 12:55