Jacobs to provide project management services to UK nuclear fleet

Issue 3 and Volume 8.

May 13

Jacobs Engineering Group was awarded a contract by EDF Energy to provide project management resources to EDF’s eight nuclear power plants and two technical centers in the United Kingdom.

Under the terms of the five-year contract, Jacobs is providing a range of project management and engineering resources to support EDF Energy’s maintenance and life extension program to 15 nuclear reactors at the Dungeness, Hartlepool, Heysham 1 and 2, Hinkley Point, Hunterston, Sizewell and Torness nuclear power plants, as well as the East Kilbride and Gloucester technical centers.

Officials did not disclose the value, but say the contract has two optional two-year extensions.

Westinghouse unit to inspect nuclear reactor parts at Swiss power plant

May 13

WesDyne, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Electric Co., was awarded a six-year contract for reactor pressure vessel nozzle inspections at the Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant (KKL) in Switzerland.

The scope of work includes qualification of the KKL mechanized ultrasonic inspection system using a state-of-the-art phased array technique and yearly inspections of eight different nozzle types – 56 total – with each nozzle having up to three welds. A total of 127 welds will be inspected over the six-year timeframe. Westinghouse has been performing these inspections at KKL for the past ten years.

The work will be executed primarily out of Westinghouse’s facility in Mannheim and supported by an international team of experts from WesDyne.

Entergy continues to monitor oil leak at Indian Point nuclear power plant

May 13

Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said it continues to monitor and mitigate any impacts from an oil leak at the 2,000-MW Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York.

Indian Point Unit 3 automatically shut down May 9 following the failure of one of two main electrical transformers. The failure led to a fire, which was quickly put out by an automatic sprinkler and on-site firefighting personnel. The fire caused a tank to rupture and leak several thousand gallons of oil into a holding tank, which overflowed its capacity and spilled into the river. There were no injuries reported and no release of radiation from the event. Unit 2 continues to operate at full capacity.

Entergy staff has been investigating the cause of the transformer failure and placed protective oil booms in the plant’s discharge canal and river to contain an approximately 300-foot-diameter sheen seen in the water. The utility is working with federal and state environmental protection officials to monitor the river and take necessary actions against potential environmental impacts to the river and the surrounding community.

“We take our commitment to the environment seriously, and any potential spill of transformer oil into the environment is not in accordance with our standards,” said Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities. “Onsite personnel moved aggressively to mitigate any potential condition and began an analysis of the failure.”

Next generation nuclear fuel design revealed

May 13

Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) introduced its next generation fuel design, GNF3.

The GNF3 fuel assembly design is designed to be more resistant to debris capture and to exhibit the best available corrosion resistance of any boiling water reactor fuel. GNF3 will be fabricated at GNF’s facility in Wilmington, North Carolina.

“We designed GNF3 to deliver more power while reducing overall fuel cycle costs,” said Amir Vexler, Chief Operator Officer of GNF-Americas. “The enhanced GNF3 design will save utilities money by reducing batch friction, lowering the average enrichment in fuel reloads and extracting more power from the core.”

Eight lead use assemblies were loaded and are currently operating in Entergy (NYSE: ETR)’s River Bend Station and Exelon (NYSE: EXC)’s LaSalle County Station in January. GNF3 is expected to be available for full reloads in 2018.

GNF is a joint venture between GE (NYSE: GE), Hitachi and Toshiba.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to begin refueling PWRs

May 13

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) said it plans to begin offering refueling services to Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) customers.

GEH’s announcement includes an agreement with Exelon Generation (NYSE: EXC) to begin refueling work on Exelon’s fleet. PWRs account for roughly two-thirds of nuclear reactors operating around the world.

GEH currently services and fuels boiling water reactors that are in operation globally. GEH plans to introduce advanced services offerings to enhance PWR outage performance.

Plant Farley nuclear Unit 1 completes scheduled refueling outage

May 12

Southern Nuclear’s (NYSE: SO) Plant Farley 1 in Alabama returned to service after completing an almost two-month refueling and maintenance outage.

Unit 1 was taken offline on March 28 and returned to service on May 7. During the outage, workers also made upgrades to plant systems and components and performed regular maintenance and testing. The last outage for Unit 1 was completed in fall 2013.

In addition to the 900 Plant Farley staff, more than 800 additional workers from Westinghouse, Siemens (NYSE: SI), Williams and other companies performed specialized tasks.

Unit 2 continued to operate at full power during Unit 1’s shutdown.

Kudankulam nuclear Unit 1 shuts down

May 11

Unit 1 at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in India shut down following a reactor trip.

The 1,000-MW unit was powering up and had reached 873 MW when it tripped, according to the Deccan Herald. A plant official said in the article that the cause was transience at the steam generator level control, and that the reactor is expected back online in three days.

The second 1,000-MW unit is expected to come online this year.

Columbia Generating Station completes “breaker to breaker” run

May 11

Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station in Washington recently set a new record for its longest continuous operational run – 683 days – when operators shut down the reactor to begin the station’s biennial refueling and maintenance outage. Columbia achieved what’s known as a “breaker to breaker” run for the first time in its 30-year history, meaning the plant has been operating non-stop since reconnecting to the grid on June 25, 2013, following its previous refueling outage.

During the 683-day run, Columbia produced nearly 18 million megawatt-hours of electricity and operated at a more than 98 percent capacity factor.

“This record run is about keeping our commitment to the region to produce clean, reliable and cost-effective power for the long-term,” said Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest CEO. “I’m proud of our team and their many accomplishments over the last two years.

Columbia was online every single day during 2014 and in November broke its previous record – 505 days set in April 2011 – for consecutive days online. Columbia also produced more clean nuclear energy for the Northwest power grid during fiscal 2014 than any other fiscal year in its 30-year history. The nuclear facility sent nearly 9.8 million megawatt-hours of electricity to the grid, culminating three consecutive years of record-setting generation. In November, Columbia also marked five years without an unplanned shutdown.

Columbia began a 42-day refueling and maintenance outage that will include several major projects and the loading of 248 new, higher-efficiency nuclear fuel assemblies into the reactor core. An additional 1,500 skilled outage workers were hired locally and from across the country to support maintenance projects throughout the plant.

Columbia Generating Station is the third largest producer of electricity in Washington, generating 1,170 MW of electricity, which is sold at-cost to BPA.

Steam leak shuts down nuclear power plant

May 11

A steam leak at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio prompted the shut down of Unit 1 on Saturday.

A steam leak from the No. 1 moisture separator reheater in the turbine building was reported to the control room, according to a report filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Operators performed a rapid shutdown of the unit to 30 percent before manually tripping it offline. Backup systems were started and functioned as designed. There were no reported injuries.

The steam leak was isolated approximately two hours after the initial report and the unusual event was terminated. Plant personnel with FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) continue to investigate the cause of the leak.

Oil leak at nuclear power plant follows transformer explosion

May 11

A transformer explosion at Entergy’s (NYSE: ETR) Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York over the weekend leads to an oil leak in the nearby Hudson River.

Unit 3 automatically shut down after one of the two main electrical transformers at the plant blew up. An automatic sprinkler system and onsite plant personnel extinguished the fire. There were no injuries reported and no release of radiation.

The explosion caused a tank to rupture and transformer fluid began leaking into a holding tank that did not have the capacity to contain all the fluid, according to an Unusual Event report filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Several thousand gallons of oil leaked into the Hudson River and the state Department of Environmental Conservation set up booms to contain an approximately 300-foot-diameter sheen seen in the water.

There is no word on how long Unit 3 will be offline. Unit 2 continues to operate at full power.

Oyster Creek nuclear power plant automatically shuts down

May 8

The 636-MW Oyster Creek nuclear power plant automatically shut down because of a turbine trip.

On May 7, an automatic scram occurred from a turbine trip. The trip is currently under investigation, but workers with plant operator Exelon (NYSE: EXC) say an electrical disturbance on the non-nuclear side of the plant may have been the cause. All backup systems responded as designed and there was no danger to the public or to workers.

Panel backs plan for nuclear waste disposal near Lake Huron

May 8

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – A Canadian advisory panel has endorsed a long-debated plan to bury waste from nuclear power plants less than a mile from Lake Huron.

The Joint Review Panel made its recommendation Wednesday in a report to Canada’s environment minister, who is expected to render a decision within 120 days.

Publicly owned Ontario Power Generation wants to bury 7.1 million cubic feet of low- and intermediate-level waste from nuclear plants about 2,230 feet below the earth’s surface at the Bruce Power generating station near Kincardine, Ontario.

Company officials say it would be entombed in rock and wouldn’t reach the lake. Opponents say there’s no way assure that, as some material would be radioactive for centuries.

The advisory panel says it concluded the project is unlikely to harm the environment, including Lake Huron.

DOE extends nuclear liquid waste control contract

May 8

The U.S. Department of Energy extended a contract with a company that processes radioactive liquid waste in South Carolina.

DOE extended the liquid-waste-management contract with the Savannah River Remediation LLC, led by AECOM, for an additional two years. The $797 million extension will run from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2017.

AECOM’s work at the Savannah River Site includes the vitrification of high-level radioactive waste and the closure of waste tanks.