Two Nukes in for Overhaul

Thursday, September 26, 2013 @ 06:09 PM gHale


The Beaver Valley Unit 2 nuclear reactor will get a new steam generator and reactor vessel head in 2017, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co. said.

Eric Larson, FirstEnergy vice president at Beaver Valley, said the project costs will be “several hundred million dollars.”

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The major component replacements at Beaver Valley were the topic of a meeting Tuesday at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in Moon, PA, where FirstEnergy executives presented performance reviews and answered questions about its Beaver Valley reactors in Shippingport, Beaver County, its Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo, Ohio, and its Perry power plant in Perry, Ohio.

Paul Harden, company senior vice president in charge of fleet engineering said the company will also begin a major project to replace the two steam generators at its Davis-Besse plant in February, during a longer-than-normal power outage to refuel the plant. Generator parts, made by Babcock & Wilcox of Canada, will begin arriving at the Davis-Besse site next month.

The three steam generators and reactor head scheduled for replacement at Beaver Valley Unit 2 are original power plant equipment, said Jennifer Young, a FirstEnergy spokeswoman. Equipos Nucleares S.A., known as Ensa, in Spain is fabricating all three of those steam generators and the reactor head.

“The project is important for us and for the future of the plant,” said Pete Sena, FirstEnergy’s president and chief nuclear officer.

Young said replacement of steam generators and reactor heads is common at pressurized water reactors to ensure long-term plant safety. Similar generator and reactor head replacement and maintenance occurred on the Beaver Valley Unit 1 reactor in 2006.

She said the reactor head sits on top of and covers the reactor vessel, where the nuclear reaction takes place. The superheated, pressurized water created by the nuclear reaction pumps into generators that convert the water to steam that turns turbines generating electricity.

She said the work will occur during an extended shutdown for fuel replacement, but declined to indicate how long they would shut down the reactor.

The Beaver Valley units won 20-year license extensions. The extension for Unit 1 runs until 2036, for Unit 2 until 2047. Together the pressurized water reactors produce more than 1,800 megawatts of power.



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