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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.
Yasushi Yamamoto, Hiroki Konda, Yuki Matsuyama, Hodaka Osawa, Masami Ohnishi
Fusion Science and Technology | Volume 72 | Number 4 | November 2017 | Pages 773-779
Technical Note | dx.doi.org/10.1080/15361055.2017.1347461
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
The first tritium burning experiments of the discharge type fusion neutron source were conducted in January 2015, using a 93% deuterium and 7% tritium gas mixture. In order to conduct the experiment in a closed environment, a gas feed and exhaust system using non-evaporable getter material was prepared. This system was designed to minimize tritium usage and produce measurable changes in the neutron production rate on the basis of the dependence of the equilibrium pressure on getter temperature as included in the manufacturer’s data sheet. However, the present experiments revealed that the gas supply was insufficient and that the discharge duration was limited to about 2 minutes by the pressure drop during discharge.
To determine the cause, verification experiments using hydrogen and deuterium gas were performed. It was found that the pressure variation with getter temperature could be mimicked by exploiting isotope effects and adjusting the hydrogen/deuterium concentration in the getter material according to the gas released into the vacuum chamber. Moreover, prolonged maintenance of a discharge was demonstrated by roughly tripling the amount of gas.
The tritium concentration in the gas mixture, estimated on the basis of the present results, varied between 1.5% and 6.7% according to the assumptions used.