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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.
M. Andersson, D. Blanchet, H. Nylén, R. Jacqmin
Nuclear Science and Engineering | Volume 185 | Number 2 | February 2017 | Pages 277-293
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/00295639.2016.1272359
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
Advanced sodium-cooled fast reactors with improved safety features such as the French Advanced Sodium Technological Reactor for Industrial Demonstration (ASTRID) CFV (French acronym of Coeur à Faible effet de Vide sodium, meaning low sodium void effect core) core concept are characterized by an axial heterogeneous core that will present a challenge for the homogenization procedures used today, taking into account all the different axial material transitions. Reliable modeling of the control rod and accurate prediction of the control rod worth are essential to determining the shutdown margins and to ensuring safe operation.
In this work (part II of two companion papers), two different homogenization schemes are compared. One is based on the traditional reactivity-equivalence procedure in two dimensions, and the other is a newly implemented three-dimensional (3-D) version of the reactivity-equivalence procedure, with approximations based on the results in the companion paper. The deterministic results are compared with a Monte Carlo reference.
Both cross-section sets from the two homogenization schemes yielded results within the requested ±5% error margin in reactivity. The largest discrepancy was found for the classical procedure for the case with a slightly inserted control rod (normal operating conditions). Both cross-section sets yielded similar power profiles in the fuel subassembly neighboring the control rod within the 2σ Monte Carlo standard deviation. Neither of the cross-section sets was able to predict the large gradients in capture rates close to the internal control rod interfaces.
The study showed that the traditional two-dimensional (2-D) reactivity-equivalence procedure produces homogenized cross sections that yield reliable results in a CFV-type core. One exception from this was found for slightly inserted control rods, where the effect of the follower-absorber interface could not be fully captured by the 2-D scheme, and for such cases, 3-D modeling is recommended.