CHICAGO—Alliant Energy and Southern Nuclear Operating Co. today received the Nuclear Energy Institute's Top Industry Practice (TIP) Award for developing new safety-focused inspection and testing programs for their nuclear power plants in Iowa and Alabama respectively.
Florida Power Corp. also was honored for developing the first electronically available final safety analysis report (FSAR) on CD-ROM for required submissions to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
This year's TIP awards were announced at the Nuclear Energy Assembly, the industry's annual conference being held here. The award was established in 1994. It recognizes nuclear energy industry employees for innovations that improve safety, economics or plant performance in nine categories. Four awards were presented by ABB-Combustion Engineering, Framatome, GE Nuclear Energy and Westinghouse. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) also presented awards in five process categories: plant operations; equipment reliability; work management; administrative support and training; and materials, fuel and support services.
To date, the TIP Awards program has generated more than 300 entries from nuclear power plants throughout the United States, with almost 40 entries submitted in 2000 alone.
"The TIP Award recognizes innovation in the nuclear energy industry, and more importantly, the people who make it happen," said Joe Colvin, president and chief executive officer of NEI. "These cutting edge contributions from the nuclear industry's employees have helped evolve it from a strong industry into a great one, with record plant performance levels, an unprecedented safety record and an invaluable contribution to our nation's energy supply."
Alliant Energy and Southern Nuclear Operating Co. shared the TIP Award grand prize. Development of phased-array ultrasonic inspection technology to ensure the structural integrity and reliability of low-pressure turbines earned Alliant Energy's Duane Arnold Energy Center the TIP Award grand prize—as well as the vendor award from the plant designer, GE Nuclear Energy, and the NEI process award for equipment reliability. Turbines are a key component of a nuclear power plant, second only to the reactor. They turn the generator to produce electricity. A turbine failure ultimately could result in a re-actor shutdown and cost millions of dollars to repair. This new inspection technique also reduces turbine inspection time by 50 percent.
Southern Nuclear Operating Co. won the TIP Award grand prize-and also received the Westinghouse vendor award and NEI's process award for equipment reliability-for implementing an automated system that detects cracks in steam generator tubes at the Farley nuclear power plant. This computer-based system employs a precision robotic probe that allows data to be collected on-line for immediate availability. The automated system has enabled Farley to reduce inspection time, use fewer probes and avoid duplicative retesting. It also has eliminated paperwork and potential clerical errors that might result during the inspection of more than 10,000 steam generator tubes.
Florida Power received Framatome's vendor award and NEI's work management and con-figuration control process award for development of an electronic safety analysis report at its Crystal River Unit 3 reactor. The innovation earned the company the first exemption from federal regulations requiring hardcopy FSAR submittals to the NRC. The require-ment for nuclear plants submitting FSARs on CD-ROM is reduced from 12 copies to two. So far, Florida Power has shared this electronic process with 15 other nuclear plants.
"No single person or company could think of all the innovations that the industry collectively has developed since the beginning of the TIP Awards in 1994," Colvin said. "These innovators who have improved processes and equipment… and those who have found new ways to enhance production, efficiency and safety have spurred us on the road to excellence."
The fourth vendor award, from ABB-Combustion Engineering, went to Southern California Edison Co. for creating a new probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) model to verify an extension in the amount of time an emergency diesel generator is allowed out of service at its San Onofre nuclear plant. The model verified increasing San Onofre's diesel generator shutdown time from 72 hours to 14 days and enabled more maintenance to be done while maintaining safety. This assessment tool demonstrated that it was actually safer to do preventive maintenance on an emergency diesel generator while the plant is operating rather than shut down. This enabled San Onofre to achieve shorter, simpler and safer refueling outages, which saved consumers about $4 million.
The other winners in the TIP process award category are:
Southern California Edison Co. also won the TIP plant operations process award for eliminating corrosion in the low-pressure turbine and steam generators at its San Onofre nuclear plant. By replacing and modifying the main turbines and reducing the reactor operating temperature, the company was able to reduce the corrosion rate and extend the life of both the turbines and steam generators, while maintaining the plant's full electrical output. Extending the use of equipment alone could save hundreds of millions of dollars.
Arizona Public Service Co. won the TIP administrative support and training process award for the "Silent Defender" penetration resistant security door at its Palo Verde nuclear plant. The remote-controlled, multi-barrier steel door resulted in a substantial manpower reduction and a cost savings of about $1.4 million per year.
The Tennessee Valley Authority won the TIP materials, fuel and support services process award for the innovative approach used to move fuel bundles at its Browns Ferry nuclear plant. TVA's development of a specialized fuel movement process in the reactor reduced the time needed to refuel the plant. Use of this refueling technique saved several hundred thousand dollars.
Contacts for NEI "TIP Award" Winners
Phased Array Inspection
Mark Huting (319) 851-7330
Southern Nuclear Operating Co.
Auto Steam Gen Insp System
Sam Casey, Jr. (334) 814-4591
Florida Power Corp.
FSAR on CD-ROM
Jan Schroeder (352) 795-6486, ext. 3676
Southern California Edison
Diesel Gen Assessment Model
Arizona Public Service
David Huttie, Jr. (623) 393-2736
Tennessee Valley Authority
Fuel Bundle Movement
T.A. Keys (423) 751-3094
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org