NAPLES, FL—Employees of Nuclear Management Co. were awarded the Nuclear Energy Institute’s Top Industry Practice (TIP) Award today for their 20 percent generating capacity uprate at Iowa’s Duane Arnold Energy Center.
The award was announced at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s (NEI) annual conference being held here. The TIP awards recognize nuclear energy industry employees for innovations in safety, economics or plant performance in nine categories.
Other employees receiving awards represent Florida Power Corp., Exelon, Exelon/Westinghouse Chemistry Alliance, and Arizona Public Service-Pinnacle West Capital Corp.’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.
Nuclear Management Co. (NMC) received Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval last year for a 20 percent increase in generating capacity, which is achieved through the installation of more efficient equipment and/or more accurate instrumentation. Most previous uprates increased a reactor’s generating capacity in the range of 5-10 percent. Now, the plant will be able to produce much more electricity with essentially the same design.
“The NMC team’s achievement is a prime example of the economical way that nuclear operators modernize their power plants, which is a major reason that the industry is
achieving record-high electricity production at extremely competitive prices. The NMC team has lit the path to success for others who are pursuing these extended power uprates,” said Joe Colvin, NEI’s president and chief executive officer.
“The TIP Award recognizes those professionals who have taken the initiative to innovate and develop better practices that have positioned the nuclear energy industry as one of the safest, efficient and most productive in the world. The contributions and commitment to excellence displayed by this year’s winners, and by other men and women throughout the industry, have led to growing recognition by the public and policymakers of the critical need for nuclear energy as a component of America’s energy supply.”
Framatome ANP, GE Nuclear Energy, Westinghouse and Westinghouse-CE Nuclear presented awards in categories that recognize achievement at plants designed by these companies. NEI also presented awards in five process categories: plant operations; equipment reliability; work management configuration control; administrative support and training; and materials, fuel and support services.
Employees at Florida Power Corp. received the Framatome ANP Vendor Award for a decay heat valve canopy modification at the Crystal River 3 plant on the Gulf Coast. Upon finding a leak on a valve in the unit’s decay heat system, and faced with the possibility of complete off-load of fuel, the winning team engineered a gasketed joint canopy to cover the leaking area. This first-of-its-kind canopy surrounded the leak, sealing it with a pressure boundary equivalent to that in the regular plant design.
Exelon was recognized with the GE Nuclear Energy Vendor Award for the 360-degree boiling water reactor vessel-servicing platform introduced at its Dresden plant in northern Illinois. The winning team is an Exelon/GE partnership. The work platform long used in the plant reactor building had space limitations that restricted the amount of work being performed.
The new 360-degree platform has improved service features that include electric power feeds and access enhancements that have increased the number of workstations and the amount of maintenance that can be performed during outages. Because this platform can be transported from one plant to another, outages at multiple reactors can be serviced by the same piece of equipment in less time.
The Westinghouse Vendor Award went to the Exelon/Westinghouse Chemistry Alliance for the reactor startup and shutdown chemistry optimization process achieved at the Byron and Braidwood plants in Illinois. The winning team was able to minimize the time it takes to establish all the chemical conditions needed for reactor startup. Enhanced water chemistry allowed the plant to better protect employees, with a record low radiation dose to workers achieved during Byron 2’s most recent outage.
The fourth vendor award, from Westinghouse CE, went to Arizona Public Service-Pinnacle West Capital Corp.’s Palo Verde power station for development of a lightweight vacuum system to find and retrieve foreign objects inside the reactor vessel. The device invented by the winning team is portable, weighs less than 50 pounds, needs no crane support, and can be quickly used by two people.
The vacuum system is used underwater, with flow rates between 125-250 gallons per minute. Because the equipment is small, crews have excellent control and can retrieve foreign objects in difficult spots in the reactor vessel. The team has been issued a U.S. patent for the system.
The four other TIP Process Award winners include:
For the second year in a row, Exelon wins the TIP Process Award in the materials, fuel and support services category for its tungsten wall shielding innovation at Illinois’ Quad Cities plant. As part of an uprate, modifications near the unit’s condensate system had to be made. The team created a new method to shield workers making the modification.
Employees designed a 12-foot-tall, 6-feet-wide and 5-inch-deep tank. The tank provided a framework for pouring in a new shield material—plastic coated tungsten spheres. Once the tank was built, spheres could be poured into the tank shield to achieve the required reduction in radiation dose. The tank, lightweight and moveable, substantially improved worker safety.
Exelon employees, teaming with Westinghouse , also won in the category of equipment reliability for the pressurized water reactor asset management system instituted at Exelon’s Byron and Braidwood plants. A system was set up to observe the operation of Westinghouse plants around the world during refuelings. Exelon’s purpose is to ensure that the plants maintain a high capacity factor and that planning can be done for unforeseen repairs. As a result, the company is nearing “all-in” costs of two cents per kilowatt-hour, which is among the lowest in the industry.
Tennessee Valley Authority employees were honored with the TIP Process Award in the administrative support and training category for its Excellence in Performance training program. The program is essentially a knowledge management tool. It consists of questions placed in a common computer bank accessible by all employees via the Web. Each employee group, based on its work assignment, randomly takes a 15-minute exam.
The tests look at the level of knowledge retained from training and measures whether knowledge retention is trending up or down. Performance in different subject areas is correlated with the corrective action program. This unique tool, which is applicable to all of TVA’s nuclear facilities, has been independently identified as a good practice in three separate NEI benchmarking reports.
North Atlantic Energy Services Co.’s Seabrook Station won the TIP Process Award for work management and configuration control for employees’ simplified reactor vessel head assembly. The winners reconfigured a vital plant component to enhance safety and improve the component’s performance. The team was able to take parts that would normally have been structurally separate from the vessel head and instead make them part of the vessel head package.
Lastly, Dominion Generation received a TIP 2002 Awards Special Recognition plaque for exceptional effort and participation in all TIP Awards categories.
“There have been more than 400 TIP Award entries since the program’s inception in 1994, and each innovation and process improvement acts as a catalyst that continues us further along the road to excellence,” Colvin said.
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.