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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The continuous development of cutting-edge technology and innovation by nuclear energy industry professionals has helped the nuclear energy industry become the nation’s most reliable carbon-free source of electricity.
To increase public awareness of these innovations and their importance, the Nuclear Energy Institute has produced four video news releases that examine innovations that have been recognized with a Top Industry Practice award. This is the final video; all four videos are posted on NEI’s Web site.
This video, “Robotic Inspectors,” highlights new inspection devices developed at the Vermont Yankee nuclear energy station to closely analyze the facility’s steam dryer. Entergy Nuclear employees at Vermont Yankee are recipients of the Maintenance Process Award for developing innovative tooling for the inspection of a boiling water reactor steam dryer. The steam dryer is located in the top of the reactor.
Entergy Nuclear partnered with AREVA NP Inc. to develop two remotely operated inspection systems, one to inspect the outer diameter of the dryer and the other to inspect the inner diameter. The outer diameter innovation uses a rail-and-trolley system with a telescoping mast and camera to inspect all 213 welds and components. The inner diameter method uses an underwater crawler with a telescoping mast and camera to inspect all 253 welds and components.
Advantages common to both inspection systems include: improved safety, higher inspection quality, greatly reduced radiation exposure and parallel inspection capability. An annual reduction of 3.6 person-rem of radiation exposure is expected along with a minimum $500,000 cost reduction per outage. The tooling is highly transferable. It was developed so it can be used on all makes and sizes of dryers, regardless of the rail configuration on the refuel floor. The new dryer inspection tools can be used for dryer inspections at all boiling water reactors.
To download “Robotic Inspectors,” go to: http://www.nei.org/filefolder/Robotic_Inspectors.wmv. The news release describing the all of the award-winning TIP entries is available at: http://www.nei.org/newsandevents/newsreleases/omaha-public-power-district-easrns-best-of-the-best-award-for-nuclear-industry-innovation.
The first video, “High Tech Stress Relief,” released on July 7, looked at the challenge of microscopic stress corrosion cracking in plant systems. Released on July 14, the second video, “Global Ties Boost Nuclear Plant Performance,” showcased an international exchange of best practices by Exelon Nuclear. And released on July 21, “The Secret Is Plastic” focused on the impressive new use of polyethylene piping at nuclear plants.
One hundred and four nuclear power plants operating in 31 states supply one-fifth of the nation’s electricity, even though they constitute only 10 percent of installed electric generating capacity.