Nuke Turbine Blades Replaced

Thursday, June 9, 2011 @ 04:06 PM gHale

Both reactors at the 2,289-megawatt Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania should return to service from mid June to early July following turbine blade replacements.

An inspection of the main turbine in Unit 1 revealed blade damage similar to that found earlier during a routine inspection of Unit 2’s main turbine, PPL officials said.

“The scope of the turbine blade damage on Unit 1 is virtually identical to what we discovered on Unit 2,” said Timothy Rausch, PPL’s chief nuclear officer.

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The main turbine for each unit consists of a high-pressure turbine and three low-pressure turbines. Workers found cracks on the blades during inspections of the low-pressure turbines.

There was no potential danger to the public, PPL said. The turbines are in a separate building from the reactors.

“We have completed the blade replacements on the Unit 2 low-pressure turbines, and have begun replacing blades on the Unit 1 turbines,” Rausch said.

Operators shut Unit 2 in early April for a scheduled biennial refueling and maintenance outage.

After discovering cracks on Unit 2’s turbine blades, PPL said the Unit 2 outage would extend by about four to six weeks from its original planned return time in mid-May. Rausch said that schedule has not changed.

PPL also said on May 5 it would inspect Unit 1’s turbine blades in response to the issues with Unit 2. The company shut Unit 1 on May 16 to start that inspection.

Because the turbine blade cracks on Unit 1 were similar to those found on Unit 2, the company said it expected Unit 1 repairs to take about four to six weeks, the same as the extra work on Unit 2.

The reactors generate power by boiling water to create steam that passes through turbines that turn a generator. Each turbine has hundreds of fanlike metal blades.



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