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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.
N. A. P. Kiran Kumar, K. J. Leonard, G. E. Jellison, L. L. Snead
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 67 | Number 4 | May 2015 | Pages 771-783
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.13182/FST14-875
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The study presents the high-dose behavior of dielectric mirrors specifically engineered for radiation tolerance. Alternating layers of Al2O3/SiO2 and HfO2/SiO2 were grown on sapphire substrates and exposed to neutron doses of 1 and 4 displacements per atom (dpa) at 458 ± 10 K in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR). In comparison to previously reported results, these higher doses of 1 and 4 dpa result in a drastic drop in optical reflectance, caused by a failure of the multilayer coating. HfO2/SiO2 mirrors failed completely when exposed to 1 dpa, whereas the reflectance of Al2O3/SiO2 mirrors reduced to 44%, eventually failing at 4 dpa. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observation of the Al2O3/SiO2 specimens showed SiO2 layer defects, which increase in size with irradiation dose. The typical size of each defect was ≈8 nm in 1-dpa specimens and ≈42 nm in 4-dpa specimens. Buckling-type delamination of the interface between the substrate and first layer was typically observed in both 1- and 4-dpa HfO2/SiO2 specimens. Composition changes across the layers were measured in high-resolution-scanning–TEM mode using energy dispersive spectroscopy. A significant interdiffusion between the film layers was observed in the Al2O3/SiO2 mirror, although it was less evident in the HfO2/SiO2 system. The ultimate goal of this work is to provide insight into the radiation-induced failure mechanisms of these mirrors.