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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.
Vaibhav Khane, Mahmoud M. Taha, Gary E. Mueller, Muthanna H. Al-Dahhan
Nuclear Technology | Volume 199 | Number 1 | July 2017 | Pages 47-66
Technical Paper | dx.doi.org/10.1080/00295450.2017.1324729
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
In a pebble bed reactor (PBR) core, nuclear fuel in the form of pebbles moves slowly under the influence of gravity. Due to the dynamic nature of the core, a thorough understanding about slow and dense granular flow of pebbles is required from both a reactor safety point of view and a performance evaluation point of view. In the current study, validation of discrete element method (DEM)–based simulation for the pebble flow in a PBR was carried out. Validation of DEM-based simulations necessitates validation of the employed numerical method of simulating packed structure. Hence, a parametric sensitivity study of packing interaction properties was initially conducted and also validation of the numerical method simulating packed structure at first. The parametric sensitivity analysis suggests that static friction characteristics play an important role from a packed/pebble bed structural characterization point of view. In addition, the simulated packed structure approach has shown a good agreement with the available benchmark data. Afterward, the effect of two different half-cone angles of 30 deg and 60 deg on pebble flow field in a PBR was studied by EDEMTM-based simulations. Results of streamlines, velocity radial profiles, and direct observation of discharge indicated a plug-type flow in the upper cylindrical region, whereas results indicated converging-type flow near the bottom conical region. EDEMTM results of granular flow were validated against experimental benchmark data and show a fair agreement in terms of Lagrangian trajectories and velocity profile. Therefore, this validated EDEMTM-based simulation can be used to obtain reliable results of pebble dynamics in a PBR and to enhance understanding of this phenomenon in a PBR. However, additional experimental investigations are recommended to be carried out for different sizes of test reactors, different bottom cone angles, and different sizes of pebbles to further assess DEM simulation results before using them for full-scale reactor simulations.