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Fusion Science and Technology
Penfield and Enos: Outage planning in the COVID-19 era
Energy Harbor’s Beaver Valley plant, located about 34 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, Pa., was one of many nuclear sites preparing for a scheduled outage as the coronavirus pandemic intensified in March. The baseline objective of any planned outage—to complete refueling on time and get back to producing power—was complicated by the need to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
While over 200 of the plant’s 850 staff members worked from home to support the outage, about 800 contractors were brought in for jobs that could only be done on-site. Nuclear News Staff Writer Susan Gallier talked with Beaver Valley Site Vice President Rod Penfield and General Plant Manager Matt Enos about the planning and communication required.
Beaver Valley can look forward to several more outages in the future, now that plans to shut down the two Westinghouse pressurized water reactors, each rated at about 960 MWe, were reversed in March. “The deactivation announcement happened in the middle of all our planning,” Enos said. “It’s a shame we haven’t had a chance to get together as a large group and celebrate that yet.”
While the focus remains on safe pandemic operations, the site now has two causes for celebration: an outage success and a long future ahead.
Simon Niemes, Michael Sturm, Robert Michling, Beate Bornschein
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 67 | Number 3 | April 2015 | Pages 507-510
Proceedings of TRITIUM 2013 | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST14-T66
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The β-ray induced X-ray spectrometry (BIXS) is a promising technique to monitor the tritium concentration in a fuel cycle of a fusion reactor. For in-situ measurements of high level tritiated water by bremsstrahlung counting, the characteristics of a low-noise silicon drift detector (SDD) have been examined at the Tritium Laboratory Karlsruhe (TLK). In static measurements with constant sample volume and tritium concentration, the bremsstrahlung spectra of tritiated water samples in a concentration range of 0.02 to 15 MBq/ml have been observed. The volume has been kept constant at 5 cm3. The observed spectra are well above the noise threshold. In addition to X-rays induced by β-rays, the spectra feature X-ray fluorescence peaks of the surrounding materials. No indications of memory effects have been observed. A linear relation between the X-ray intensity and the tritium concentration was obtained and the lower detection limit of the setup has been determined to 1 MBq ml-1, assessed by the Currie criterion. In addition, the spectra obtained experimentally could be reproduced with high agreement by Monte-Carlo simulations using the Geant4-toolkit. It was found that the present detection system is applicable to non-invasive measurements of high-level tritiated water and the SDD is a convenient tool to detect the low energy bremsstrahlung X-rays.