The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that N.C. Electric Membership Corporation, the power supplier for the state’s electric cooperatives, is receiving funding through the Electric Loan Program to improve generation systems at Catawba Nuclear Station. NCEMC owns a 61.51 percent share of the station’s Unit 1, and emissions-free nuclear currently accounts for 55 percent of its power supply portfolio.
The $16.6 million loan will provide money to fund more than 100 capital projects that will improve Catawba Nuclear Station’s reliability of service, security and IT capability. The single largest capital expenditure included in the loan is for new control rod assemblies to replace the current assemblies that are reaching the end of their life. The control rods regulate the nuclear chain reaction that is used to generate electricity and are an essential part of the nuclear reactor.
“Catawba Nuclear Station serves as a critical power source for North Carolina’s electric cooperatives,” said Scott Brame, NCEMC’s manager of jointly owned resources. “These improvements will help ensure that we can continue to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to electric co-op members throughout our state, while also improving quality of life and strengthening rural communities.”
NCEMC’s loan is part of a $251 million USDA investment to upgrade rural electric systems in 13 states. The funding includes $38.2 million to finance smart grid technologies that improve system operations and monitor grid security.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.