Visitors Shake, Rattle and Roll with AREVA Operational Excellence Innovations

It’s one thing to talk about the innovative solutions AREVA employees are creating and implementing in the U.S. nuclear energy industry, but showing customers and industry leaders what we’re doing gives our audiences a much greater understanding of the high-tech solutions we’re developing – innovative tools and services that will enhance and extend nuclear plants’ operations so they continue producing safe, low carbon, reliable energy.

Recently, AREVA hosted a group of executives and project managers from the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and key customers for tours of AREVA’s Operational Center of Excellence for Nuclear Products and Services in Lynchburg. This industry group is leading License Renewal efforts to enable nuclear energy facilities to operate for 60 years and Second License Renewal qualifications, which would add an additional 20 years. AREVA invited the group to see first-hand our new tools and processes that can play a significant role in safe, reliable life extensions for our nation’s nuclear fleet.

One of the main drivers for this visit to AREVA’s Technical Training Center in Lynchburg was a demonstration of the company’s new, industry award-winning life extension technology called ultra-high pressure cavitation peening. This process prevents primary water stress corrosion cracking on nuclear reactor vessel heads and nozzles. Using a mock-up built to test, qualify and demonstrate the process, the visitors saw the surface mitigation technology in action.

AREVA employee Gary Poling (right) shows visitors the metal components used to qualify the cavitation peening process.

AREVA employee Gary Poling (right) shows visitors the metal components used to qualify the cavitation peening process.

“This innovative technology has been recognized by the industry as a tool that will help extend the lifetimes of our existing plants to 60 and even 80 years,” said Gary Peters, AREVA VP currently on-loan to NEI, who hosted the group.

After watching and discussing the cavitation peening demonstration, the group toured through the other areas and demonstrations at the facility including the fuel transfer system, fuel handling bridges, a pressurized water reactor vessel head, and a boiling water reactor under-vessel mock-up. Some members of the group even tried their hand at driving the “Mega Sumo Rocky” robot used to precisely deliver the cavitation peening tooling to the reactor vessel head nozzles.

NEI COO Maria Korsnik (right) takes the Mega Sumo Rocky robot for a drive.

NEI COO Maria Korsnik (right) takes the Mega Sumo Rocky robot for a drive.

The group then visited the Outage Control Center (OCC) co-located with the Technical Training Center. The OCC and its dedicated staff keep their finger on the pulse of every deployed AREVA outage service team to monitor work progress for our customers and provide support 24/7/365. The visitors also took a trip to the AREVA Solutions Complex located just outside of Lynchburg, which includes our Seismic Lab (with one of the largest seismic tables in the world), the Metrology Lab, the Chemistry and Materials Center, and the Pump and Motor Service Center.

“Our guests said they were impressed with the in-depth knowledge of the AREVA experts they met at our facilities in Lynchburg. They experienced AREVA’s culture of operational excellence through the demonstrations and conversations with our experts about the innovative, new tooling and equipment used to solve our customers’ unique and challenging issues,” Peters added. “It would have been impressive to see one or two interesting and new technologies during a visit to AREVA. They were surprised to see so many!”