Progress Energy and AREVA have again demonstrated the value of teamwork and innovation to enhance nuclear safety and optimize outage performance. During internal reactor vessel inspections, a feedwater probe was found mis-located into a sparger. The AREVA and Progress Energy teams developed an innovative solution to remove the probe that enhanced personnel safety and improved task performance.
“Having divers in the vessel to remove the probe – from a safety and risk perspective – is not a good option and one we wanted to avoid,” said Richard Tripp, retrieval project manager for Progress Energy.
Working together to develop the best solution to retrieve the probe, the combined team researched similar industry incidents, mapped out the process and created models for testing potential strategies. The resulting solution was a device that could grasp the broken probe through the sparger nozzle. This device was affixed to an AREVA tooling system. AREVA team members manipulated the device, 50 feet under water, from the refuel bridge, watching images from mounted cameras focused on the probe. In addition to the work being performed in more than 50 feet of water, the probe had to be removed through an opening that was approximately two inches in diameter.
“The removal activities were accomplished safely without increased personnel exposure and within schedule,” said AREVA Inc. Chief Operating Officer Mike Rencheck. “This work is another example of the technology innovation and teaming that AREVA provides to help our customers achieve their safety and outage performance goals and improve plant reliability and operation.”