With two of our market-ready applications, the utility realizes immediate cost savings and dose savings, while strengthening its environmental protection and enhancing plant performance.

As we worked with you to improve outage performance and talked about the need to reduce radioactive contaminants on plant equipment and vendor-supplied tooling, we were listening and looking for solutions. The result is QuarTec,™ a family of permanently adhered hydrophobic coatings introduced as a way for utilities to save time and money and reduce the use of toxic agents.

We discovered that hydrophobic coatings traditionally used in the commercial industry could have a useful application in the nuclear field. We’ve focused on two applications – minimizing the amount of radiological contaminants that adhere to the surface of components and equipment, and reducing the accumulation of aquatic growth that is common in underwater environments, which serves both nuclear and non-nuclear energy markets. The coating properties make underwater surfaces easier to clean without the need of toxic anti-fouling or anti-microbial agents, which can harm marine biology.

QuarTec bonds directly with the substrate at the molecular level, but also meets the rigorous chemistry standards for the nuclear industry. We were able to develop a way to remove the harmful elements without impacting the hydrophobic properties of underwater adhesion and self-cleaning. Plus, by reducing the amount of contamination that’s around the technicians during equipment refurbishment, dose is reduced as well as costs for contamination control.

Framatome has performed an analysis on the chemical make-up, adhesion testing, and radiation hardness testing similar to plant-like conditions, and evaluated how the coating would impact fuel performance. The team effort during the pilot phase between Framatome professionals and utilities gives us confidence that we’re meeting a real need while improving plant performance.

Multiple utility applications are in progress with positive initial results for dose, cost, and schedule savings. Most return-on-investment scenarios show that payback of the application is less than one year with multiple years of return. This makes QuarTec a first-of-a-kind solution for the energy industry that will result in immediate cost savings and dose savings for utilities, enhancing plant performance and environmental protection.