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LDC Gas Forum: Canada (November 13-15, Toronto, ON)

COVER FOCUS: Nuclear Top Plants

Columbia Generating Station, Richland, Washington
Columbia has been operating for more than 32 years, but during the last six the plant’s output has been steadily increasing as a result of technology upgrades; management, safety, and maintenance improvements; and power uprates. The plant’s 93% capacity factor since 2012 is a notable achievement.

Novovoronezh Unit 6, Voronezh, Russia
Novovoronezh Unit 6 is the first advanced third-generation VVER-1200 nuclear reactor to begin commercial operation. Compared to previous iterations, the VVER-1200 has a number upgrades that boost its economic characteristics and safety. Along with a capacity increase, the reactor design’s lifespan has been doubled from 30 to 60 years, and a number of unique safety systems have been applied, including a passive heat removal system that cools the reactor core by natural air circulation in the absence of electric power and human intervention.

Ringhals Unit 4, Varberg, Sweden
Ringhals Unit 4 delivered 8.3 TWh of energy in 2016, which was a new unit record. Unit 4’s output was actually the highest from a single unit since Ringhals started production 43 years ago, because the unit underwent an extensive modernization, which began in the 2000s. Ringhals has also been a model of consistency during recent winter months when its power is needed most. Its 99.9% availability from January to March was especially impressive.

features

PJM Interconnection
PJM operates the U.S.’s largest competitive wholesale electricity market, ensuring reliability for more than 65 million people. It’s not surprising that the job comes with challenges. PJM must manage a changing load profile and fuel mix; deal with retiring legacy units and the effect they have on reliability and markets; coordinate gas-electric resources; analyze fuel security issues; integrate growing distributed resources; and cope with evolving transmission planning drivers. (Kennedy Maize)

The Nuclear Decommissioning Business
The nuclear industry is finding it difficult to compete with inexpensive natural gas, and several plants have been, or will be, retired early. Decommissioning those facilities is no small task. Many factors must be considered, but best practices have been developed and there are companies with experience in the field. (Jim Hylko)

Dismantling Power Plants
Although a conventional power plant site may not be as difficult to repurpose as a nuclear plant site, there are still a number of risks that must be managed through the process. Companies that specialize in the work can reduce the burden on owners, making it easier for utilities to focus on what they do best—serving power customers. (Aaron Larson)

Plant Efficiency Improvements
A plant’s heat balance is the foundation of the power block design. It contains a wealth of information useful for day-to-day operation and maintenance. With design document baselines and simple observations, five key parameters can keep the plant on course for high performance. The data to watch includes flue gas exit temperature, feedwater flow ratio, condenser terminal temperature difference, condenser range, and tower approach. (Nick Schroeder)

Preventing Turbine J-Seal Failure
Steam turbine efficiency relies heavily on the integrity and performance of the steam path stage-to-stage seals. Sealing between the rotating turbine components, stationary nozzles, and casing is established using a labyrinth of high-to-low seal tooth interfaces. If a seal is not installed correctly, the caulking wire can distort and hump under thermal stresses, and liberate from the groove. Liberated seal material migrating downstream through a rotating steam path can be disastrous. (HRST Inc.)

Plant Bowen Employs 3-D Scanning and Visualization Technology for Complex Retrofits
When Plant Bowen needed to retrofit a fuel transfer point, 3-D building scans were utilized to reduce risk. After the success of that project, scanning and modeling have become commonplace for several other complex retrofit projects. The high-tech tools have reduced costly mistakes and delays, helped engineering and fabrication staff manage time effectively, optimized designs for highly efficient operation, improved safety, and minimized work stoppages. The result has been projects finishing on time and on budget. (Acensium)

Prescriptive Analytics for Wind Turbine Operations and Maintenance
Two of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s subsidiaries are using software to connect and track their wind turbine fleets. Predictive analytics are being used to identify potential asset breakdowns, allowing the companies to fix items before they fail. The software platform gathers data from sensors on turbines, and applies data science and predictive analytics to derive actionable insights, which can be used to increase productivity, security, reliability and safety. (Uptake)

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