August 21, 2018

Heat wave in Europe: Framatome supports its customers with a solution to increase plant efficiency

Over the last weeks, a heat wave has broken temperature records notably in Scandinavia and
the British Isles. As a consequence, conventional and nuclear power plants (NPPs) in Europe have been forced to reduce electricity generation because of an increase in cooling water temperatures.

Nuclear power plants in France, Finland, Sweden and Germany have also been affected by this situation, which is forcing operators to scale back the energy production or in some cases, shut down the plants altogether. Nuclear power stations need water to cool their reactors and a performant cooling tower to remove the heat absorbed in the circulating water systems via evaporation. 

Framatome is able to support NPPs to mitigate a potential reduction of the power generation, by offering dedicated analyses and design concepts up to their implementation.

The solution consists in identifying sensitive points of the nuclear power plants when air temperatures are exceeded, for example. It also helps implementing potential preventive and mitigating measures to be prepared for extreme weather conditions, while providing an increase of the NPP efficiency in general, including extreme temperature conditions.

This approach optimizes the cooling tower performance by creating a laminar air flow into the cooling tower, enhancing efficiency and thus increasing power output. Reference projects resulted in a 4 to 5 MWe electric gain.