RICSS speeds inspections

Issue 4 and Volume 99.

RICSS speeds inspections

PECO Energy Co. recently used the new REM in-core sipping system (RICSS) from GE Nuclear Energy at its Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, where Otight leakersO were quickly identified, corrected, and the unit returned to service.

Unlike other liquid or gas sampling systems, the RICSS uses a gas separation technique specifically designed to detect krypton off-gas. It evaluates only gas and the process is fast because samples never have to leave the refueling floor for analysis.

The system can be configured to inspect up to 30 fuel bundles per hour, according to David L. Faulstich, GE project manager. OWe are not aware of any system that inspects faster and is as accurate as GE?s own state-of-the-art vacuum sipping method,O he said.

Another benefit of the RICSS is its quick response, making mid-cycle inspections of 12 bundles per hour with the abbreviated system to directly support customers? critical path timing requirements during mid-cycle outages.

With the RICSS, there is no need to isolate fuel assemblies for inspection. Instead, the sipping process allows samples to be taken directly from fuel assemblies inside the vessel, or in fuel storage racks without moving the fuel, eliminating fuel handling and decreasing probability of damage or mislocation of fuel assemblies. It also eliminates the need to maintain systems normally required during core alterations, such as neutron monitoring or residual heat removal.

The RICSS is actually two identical systems in one, providing total redundancy and backup control, with the systems designed to operate independently. A single system is sufficient for a mid-cycle or limited sipping program, and the dual system is recommended for full-core evaluations.