Shippingport Atomic Power Station


Decommissioned Reactors ( gross ):

The nuclear power station Shippingport was in 1954 in Shippingport on the Ohio River in Pennsylvania, about 40 miles away from Pittsburgh, built. It was the first civilian nuclear reactor in the United States and after the nuclear power plant Vallecitos the second nuclear power plant in the USA, which went on line. Owners and operators were the Department of Energy and Duquesne Light. Supplier was Westinghouse Electric. The larger Beaver Valley nuclear power plant was built in 1967 at the same location.

The reactor

The power plant was a pressurized water reactor and a gross electrical output of 68 MW, a net capacity of 60 MW and a thermal capacity of 236 MW. The reactor was built as a prototype for the commercial generation of electricity. In 1977 he was converted to a light water breeder reactor ( PLWBR, Pressurized Light -Water Breeder Reactor ), in which thorium 232, instead of the more expensive Uranium 233, was the starting fuel. The thorium operation lasted five years.

Construction and reactor type

In 1953, the then U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered his speech Atoms for Peace. The peaceful use of nuclear energy was the most important part of his speech. Therefore, it was begun on 1 January 1954, the construction of the nuclear power station Shippingport. The nuclear reactor of the power plant corresponded to the technical design of the nuclear propulsion engine of U.S. nuclear submarines. The nuclear power plant on land took on the compactness and thus the high power density of the submarine reactors, hence their security policy. Research Technically it was felt, the first time semi- commercial comes to their application type of light water reactor is inherently safe because it has a negative void coefficient, ie it switches off when bubbling in the coolant. Later, you had to take note that there are also other core melt scenarios. They had not recognized the risk is due to the decay heat. Because of them require the sensitive fuel of light water reactor, the active cooling after shutdown of the nuclear power plant, even after their removal from the reactor over about five years. The reactor pressure vessel acquired from the submarine design has a remaining risk of bursting. This is valid for all under construction, and operation of light water reactors worldwide.


On 2 December 1957, the nuclear power plant was first synchronized with the power grid. On May 26, 1958, the reactor went into commercial operation. In 1977 he was converted to PLWBR and went in the same year back on the grid.


On 1 October 1982, the reactor was shut down after operating for nearly 25 years. The degradation of the plant began in September 1985. In December, a total of 956 tonnes of heavy parts were brought as high-end as the reactor pressure vessel and the neutron shield from the containment and disposal in the state of Washington. The area was cleaned and decontaminated, and then released for unrestricted use. The decommissioning cost 98 million U.S. dollars, according to an estimate from 1990.

Data of the reactor units

The nuclear power station Shippingport had a power block: