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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.
Mahmoud Lotfy, Alice Ying, Mohamed Abdou, Yi-Hyun Park, Seungyon Cho
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 72 | Number 3 | October 2017 | Pages 255-262
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2017.1330637
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Ceramic breeder pebble beds undergo complex thermally-induced stress build-up and relaxation processes during reactor operations due to the pebble bed thermal expansion and creep deformation. Understanding such processes can facilitate the evaluation of a solid breeder performance, including bed stress/strain equilibrium status, which will guide the design of stable blanket operation and assessment of lifetime. The efforts of this study cover both experimental testing and numerical modeling for this purpose. Measured stresses in pebble beds show a decreasing trend with thermal cycles, until ultimately reaching a saturated state. This stress relaxation is mainly caused by the combined effect of bed plastic rearrangement and accumulation of creep deformation under compressive stresses and high temperatures. As bed stress is reduced, the creep deformation becomes less significant and further cyclic operation would not alter the pebble bed mechanical state. To validate the thermally-induced stress and its variation with cycles, experiments of thermal stress measurement have been designed and conducted for pebble beds heated by both continuous and pulsed power sources. Moreover, the effects of mechanical pre-compaction were investigated with emphasis on understanding the relationship between the bed stress-state evolution and maintaining adequate levels of thermal contact between the pebbles and the coolant structure. The results of this study presents valuable data to serve as a basis for validation of the most recent pebble bed numerical models.