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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.
J. S. Wright, R. D. Torres, B. Peters, D. T. Hope, L. L. Tovo
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 67 | Number 3 | April 2015 | Pages 639-642
Proceedings of TRITIUM 2013 | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST14-T99
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The Savannah River Tritium Plant (TP) relies on well understood but aging sensor technology for process gas analysis. Although new sensor technologies have been brought to various readiness levels, the TP has been reluctant to install technologies that have not been tested in tritium service. This gap between sensor development and incorporating new technologies into practical applications demonstrates fundamental challenges that exist when transitioning from status quo to state-of-the-art in an extreme environment such as a tritium plant. These challenges stem from three root obstacles: 1) The necessity for a comprehensive assessment of process sensing needs and requirements; 2) The lack of a pick-list of process-compatible sensor technologies; and 3) The need to test sensors in a tritium-contaminated process environment without risking production.
At Savannah River, these issues are being addressed in a two phase project. In the first phase, TP sensing requirements were determined by a team of process experts. Meanwhile, Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) sensor experts identified candidate technologies and related them to the TP processing requirements. The resulting roadmap links the candidate technologies to actual plant needs. To provide accurate assessments of how a candidate sensor technology would perform in a contaminated process environment, an instrument demonstration station was established within a TP glove box. This station was fabricated to TP process requirements and designed to handle high activity samples. The combination of roadmap and demonstration station provides the following assets:
• Creates a partnership between the process engineers and researchers for sensor selection, maturation, and insertion
• Selects the right sensors for process conditions
• Provides a means for safely inserting new sensor technology into the process without risking production, and
• Provides a means to evaluate off normal occurrences where and when they occur.
This paper discusses the process to identify and demonstrate new sensor technologies for the Savannah River TP.