Exelon’s Braidwood Generating Station (Reactors 1 and 2) was among nuclear facilities recently approved for power uprates
Demanding Best Practices for Special Initiatives
One-of-a-kind situations call for solutions intelligently designed to fit the bill. In UniTech’s recent experience, two types of critical-needs situations come to mind.
Power Uprate: Let’s say the NRC approves a power uprate for your nuclear plant, potentially demanding refueling with either somewhat more enriched uranium fuel or an increased percentage of new fuel. This allows the reactor to produce more steam so a turbine can produce more power. This upgrade has broad impact on plant systems, as noted in the U.S.N.R.C Backgrounder on Power Uprates for Nuclear Plants:
Components such as pipes, valves, pumps, heat exchangers, electrical transformers and generators must be able to accommodate the higher power level. For example, a higher power level usually involves greater steam and water flow through the systems used to convert heat into electric power. These systems must be able to handle the increased flows.
Thus, the plant must have a work-intensive power uprate outage.
Decommissioning: At the other end of the spectrum, facilities such as San Onofre and Vermont Yankee are in the process of decommissioning, requiring a variety of major jobs be performed. According to the NRC backgrounder on decommissioning, these include “permanent removal of such major components as the reactor vessel, steam generators, large piping systems, pumps, and valves.”
Facilities’ Requirements and Considerations for Working Partners
Both power uprates and decommissioning are major initiatives, but they are one-time projects. As such, they often bring with them the following understandings:
- All service, equipment and apparel needs for this project are temporary
- Having inventory left behind when the project is done is typically not desirable, since most of it will not be needed again and may in fact be a liability
- Partners in the project bring most value when they can combine an optimal blend of best pricing, best safety, best efficiency, and least demand on the nuclear facility’s workforce.
How UniTech Meets These Customer Requirements (The Do, Doing, DONE Process)
Because UniTech provides most of its services during nuclear facilities’ periods of highest demand (e.g. during outages or when equipment monitoring and decontamination is required) our team is seasoned in:
- Gearing up and responding quickly
- Providing sustained support for as long as it’s needed
- Assuring that when we are done, customers have no unwanted inventory.
This is of course how UniTech earns repeat business, so it’s imperative that we perform at the top of our game.
For both power uprates and decommissioning, customers typically benefit from:
- A UniTech Mobile Supply Store onsite for just-in-time inventory
- The right supply of leased protective clothing (no ownership = no inventory)
- Quality leased protective equipment (again, no post-project inventory concerns)
- The world’s best tool and equipment monitoring and decontamination services
- Getting used Frac tanks cleaned and off-site when the customer is done with them
- If useful, UniTech tool and equipment storage service with easy-to-access database so the customer can get items back when – and only when – they are needed.
Of course, as with any UniTech services, we customize each program to assure it is ideal for our customer’s desired process. We’re always ready to plan with you, so please contact your account representative or our corporate office to learn more.