February 20, 2019

US: Framatome wins multimillion-dollar contract to perform cutting-edge maintenance technique at Wolf Creek

Framatome has signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation to apply a cutting-edge maintenance technique at the nuclear generator in Coffey County, Kansas.

Framatome’s ultra-high-pressure (UHP) cavitation peening technique will be implemented at Wolf Creek to strengthen and prepare the reactor vessel closure head (RVCH) for the future. This operation is currently scheduled for spring 2021. In addition to the surface mitigation peening services, Framatome will conduct a range of non-destructive examinations (NDEs) of the reactor components and perform aging management inspections.

“Providing innovative solutions that increase safety and performance, while reducing project duration and costs, is an integral part of Framatome’s mission,” said Catherine Cornand, senior executive vice president, Framatome Installed Base Business Unit. “The UHP cavitation peening technique has already been successfully used on reactor vessel closure heads. This solution demonstrates once again Framatome’s leadership in advanced technologies and innovation for all types of nuclear power plants, actively contributing to the operational and financial performance of our customers.”

The Wolf Creek Generating Station, Kansas’s only nuclear power plant, provides energy for two utility owners’ customers in both Kansas and Missouri. Sitting on nearly 12,000 acres, the 1,200 megawatt-electric plant provides enough energy for more than 800,000 homes.

More about ultra-high pressure cavitation peening :

UHP cavitation peening is designed to prevent primary water stress corrosion cracking. The process uses ultra-high-pressure water jets to generate vapor bubbles that collapse with enough force to create beneficial compression of the components’ surfaces. This surface compression improves components’ material properties and enhances resistance to corrosion and other types of degradation.

In pressurized water reactors, like Wolf Creek, water flows into the reactor vessel and through its core, where it is heated. The water then exits through four hot leg primary nozzles, located on the bottom half of the reactor vessel, carrying heat to the steam generator. This is a vital part of the process of generating electricity at a nuclear energy facility.

In addition to extending the life of the primary components of a nuclear reactor for up to 40 additional years, including the hot leg primary nozzles, the cavitation peening process reduces outage times and saves money by eliminating the need for companies to replace components or address indications with traditional repair methods. UHP cavitation peening can be used for several different applications in most reactor designs.