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Proceedings Paper

Effects of inadequate pipe insulation on a power plant's heat cycle
Author(s): Mark A. Lanius; R. Wayne Choromanski
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Paper Abstract

In the power generation industry, the efficiency of the plant's heat cycle is crucial in the age of de-regulation. As competition increases, the cost of generating electricity must decrease. To lower costs, nuclear power plants are always looking at ways of recovering lost megawatts. Additionally, plants are striving to maintain high availability, especially during the peak load demands. At the Limerick Generating Station (LGS), the System Manager was tackling both challenges. He determined that Unit #1 Drywell temperatures had been historically higher than Unit #2 Drywell temperatures. The Drywell is a concrete primary containment that houses both the nuclear reactor and recirculation pumps in a Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) plant. A driving force to resolve the higher temperatures was the plant's Technical Specifications which dictate a maximum allowable temperature of 135 degree(s)F in the Drywell. During the summer of 1999 (one of the hottest on record for the East Coast), the temperatures in the Unit #1 Drywell approached the maximum allowed by the Technical Specifications. Exceeding this temperature would require Unit #1 to reduce power during a critical demand period or even shut down. During a peak load condition, the loss of generating capabilities could be extremely costly for the utility. In extreme circumstances, as recent as the winter of 2001 in California, customers could be faced with the potential of roaming brown outs due to the reduced capacity on the electrical grid. Based on the System Manager's experience, the heat source was suspected to be from less than adequate insulated pipes in the Drywell. To determine the condition and status of the insulation, infrared was used to inspect the pipes. The ideal condition is to observe the maximum temperatures when the reactor is at 100% power, but due to the radiological and atmospheric conditions in the Drywell, the inspection would have to be performed immediately after the reactor was shut down for an outage.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 March 2001
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4360, Thermosense XXIII, (23 March 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.421001
Show Author Affiliations
Mark A. Lanius, Exelon Nuclear (United States)
R. Wayne Choromanski, Exelon Nuclear (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4360:
Thermosense XXIII
Andres E. Rozlosnik; Ralph B. Dinwiddie, Editor(s)

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