Fort St. Vrain was a nuclear power plant that ceased operating in 1989. It was decommissioned from 1992 to 1996 and re-powered in stages between 1995 and 2009 as a natural gas-fired facility – the first commercial-scale nuclear power plant in the United States to be decommissioned.
Fort St. Vrain's successful re-powering enabled Xcel Energy to re-use approximately $60 million in assets from the plant's nuclear era to continue to generate electricity for its customers. The plant is now our largest gas-fired generating station in Colorado, capable of producing more than three times the electricity it could during its history as a nuclear facility. As such, it plays a crucial role in meeting the growing electricity needs of Front Range customers.
Fort St. Vrain also operates two simple cycle combustion turbines located at Ft. Lupton.
Three heat recovery steam generators capture excess heat that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere, turn it into steam and use it to power the original steam turbine. All five combustion turbines have used the best available technology at the time of their construction to reduce emissions. That includes low-NOx burners and selective catalytic reduction technology.
Plant employees are active in the Platteville community. Visitors are encouraged to see the Energy/Environmental Learning Center at the former visitors’ center. The plant is also home to an American bald eagle nest as well as an Xcel Energy Bird Cam, which provides viewing of the eagles via the Internet. The plant has donated to the local chapter of the Questers, an organization working on restoration of several historical sites in Platteville, including the monument at the old Fort St. Vrain site.
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