Morning comes to Catawba Nuclear Station, located in York County, S. C. on Lake Wylie. The two units at Catawba generate approximately 2,258 megawatts of electricity—enough electricity to power approximately one million homes—making it the second-largest operating nuclear plant in Duke Energy’s fleet.
Each of the two units at Catawba has two emergency diesel generators that can provide power to the station in an emergency. One generator can provide more than enough power to safely shut down the unit.
Catawba Nuclear Station has six cooling towers, three for each unit. What you see rising from the towers is actually water vapor, or steam.
Stairs leading to the top of the cooling towers. Each ascending circular level of the cooling tower cantilevers slightly over the level below (looking similar to an upside down lamp shade).
The cooling towers are huge circular concrete structures, seven stories high, and 270 feet in diameter (almost one football field) with thirteen huge (28 feet) fans on the top deck. Each tower circulates about 210,000 gallons of water per minute.
The switchyard—where power from the nuclear station first stops on the way to customers.
The whole process of making electricity is monitored in the control room where is a team of operators licensed by the federal government makes sure our plant operates safely and efficiently. To maintain their licenses, operators must complete requalification training and examination programs — spending one week of every five weeks in required training for the duration of their careers. Additionally, they must pass exams to be certified physically and mentally fit to be an operator.