by Will Davis
Roughly six years ago, I wrote an article for ANS Nuclear Cafe entitled “The Hook-Ons,” which covered small nuclear plants that were added (or “hooked”) onto existing or purpose-built cooperative fossil fired plants. That idea continues to receive attention today as we think about converting various fossil powered things to nuclear. I say “things” because these might be power plants, chemical plants, factories, or anything else. In recalling this article recently though, I thought about another aspect of those days of wide nuclear enthusiasm and construction – what about add-ons? Let’s take a look.
Indian Point was one of the true pioneers of nuclear energy in this country, at least in a commercial sense. Designed during a period in which a number of nuclear plants were coupled with fossil power, Indian Point adopted an arrangement where the nuclear steam supply system (in the containment at the right of the artist’s concept shown above) provided steam to a large fossil fired superheater; this superheated steam was then used to generate electricity. The superheater is under the tall stack; the boxy turbine building is next to that, on the river side.
As completed, Indian Point pretty much duplicated the artwork seen earlier. The superheating of steam for conventional PWR (as this was) or BWR nuclear plants was abandoned after the early years, so that few of this general class were ever constructed. Another novel feature of this plant was that its first core was a thorium-uranium converter core (stainless steel clad.) This principle was abandoned; the second core, “Core B” was a conventional slightly enriched uranium core (and was supplied by Westinghouse, not the original supplier and maker of the NSSS, Babcock & Wilcox.)
Indian Point was ordered in 1955 and first stated up on August 2, 1962. The plant entered its