Susquehanna Steam Electric Station

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station
Location of Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Pennsylvania
Country United States
Location Salem Township, Luzerne County, near Berwick, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 41°5′20″N 76°8′56″W / 41.08889°N 76.14889°W / 41.08889; -76.14889Coordinates: 41°5′20″N 76°8′56″W / 41.08889°N 76.14889°W / 41.08889; -76.14889
Status Operational
Commission date Unit 1: November 12, 1982
Unit 2: June 27, 1984[1]
Owner(s) Talen Energy (90%)
Allegheny Electric Cooperative (10%)
Nuclear power station
Reactor type BWR-4
Reactor supplier General Electric
Cooling source Susquehanna River
Cooling towers 2
Power generation
Units operational 2 × 3952 MWth
Nameplate capacity Unit 1: 1,350 MWe
Unit 2: 1,350 MWe
Average generation Unit 1: 9,456 GWh
Unit 2: 8,781 GWh

The Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, a nuclear power station, is on the Susquehanna River in Luzerne County, northeastern Pennsylvania. It is just south of Shickshinny, in Salem Township.


PPL operated the plant until June 2015 when Talen Energy was formed from PPL's competitive supply business. The plant has two General Electric boiling water reactors within a Mark II containment building [2] on a site of 1,075 acres (435 ha), with 1,130 employees working on site and another 180 employees in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg-based Allegheny Electric Cooperative purchased 10% of the plant in 1977.[3][4]

Susquehanna produces 63 million kilowatt hours per day. It has been in operation since 1983. The prime builder was Bechtel Power Corporation of San Francisco, California. In the plant's first emergency, an electrical fire erupted at a switch box that controls the supply of cooling water to emergency systems. No injuries were reported following the 1982 incident.[5]

Roughly 10,000 gallons of radioactive water spilled at the Station's Unit 1 turbine building after a gasket failed in the filtering system in 1985.[6]

In November 2009, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) extended the operation licenses of the reactors for an additional 20 years.[7]

In 2008, PPL filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a license to build and operate a new nuclear plant under consideration near Berwick, Pennsylvania. The Bell Bend Nuclear Power Plant would be built near the company’s existing two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power plant. A decision by PPL on whether to move forward with the Bell Bend plant will not be made for several years.

Surrounding population

One of the power plant's cooling towers from the north

The NRC defines two emergency planning zones around nuclear power plants: a plume exposure pathway zone with a radius of 10 miles (16 km), concerned primarily with exposure to, and inhalation of, airborne radioactive contamination, and an ingestion pathway zone of about 50 miles (80 km), concerned primarily with ingestion of food and liquid contaminated by radioactivity.[8]

The 2010 U.S. population within 10 miles (16 km) of Susquehanna was 54,686, an increase of 3.3 percent in a decade, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data for The 2010 U.S. population within 50 miles (80 km) was 1,765,761, an increase of 5.5 percent since 2000. Cities within 50 miles include Wilkes-Barre (18 miles to city center).[9]

Seismic risk

The NRC's estimate of the risk each year of an earthquake intense enough to cause core damage to the reactor at Susquehanna was 1 in 76,923, according to an NRC study published in August 2010.[10][11]


  1. Pennsylvania Nuclear Power Plants,
  2. "U.S. boiling-water reactors with "Mark 1" and "Mark 2" containments". NRC. November 2, 2015. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  3. "At a Glance". Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  4. "PPL Susquehanna Fact Sheet". Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  5. "Nuke plant has emergency". Reading Eagle. September 22, 1982. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  6. "Radioactive water spills at nuke plant". Gainesville Sun. October 28, 1985. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
  7. "Susquehanna gets 20 more years". World Nuclear News. World Nuclear Association (WNA). 25 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-25.
  9. Bill Dedman, Nuclear neighbors: Population rises near US reactors,, April 14, 2011 Accessed May 1, 2011.
  10. Bill Dedman, "What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk,", March 17, 2011 Accessed April 19, 2011.
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