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November 05, 2020

Framatome teams successfully perform innovative thermal sleeve replacements in South Korea

A global pandemic. Restricted international travel. 14-day in-country quarantines. Two typhoons. These obstacles comprise one of the most logistically-challenging outages Framatome’s teams have faced. In spite of the difficulties, Framatome’s teams in North America rose to meet the challenge – completing thermal sleeve replacements in a nuclear plant in South Korea with no personnel safety events, successful technical execution and ahead of schedule.

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In August, a crew of more than 30 U.S. employees deployed to South Korea to perform “bottom up” replacement of one unit’s thermal sleeves from underneath the reactor vessel closure head (RVCH) – a method the team developed and qualified. The team was originally contracted to replace only two thermal sleeves; however, to meet our customer’s need, Framatome expanded the scope to emergently support five additional thermal sleeve replacements. The Framatome team, with the assistance of local craft labor, successfully completed the replacement of all seven thermal sleeves.

To comply with the country’s COVID-19 protocols, the team underwent rigorous 14-day government quarantine upon arrival, before traveling to the plant to perform work. Once on-site, team members adhered to strict health and safety measures, and worked through both storms and language barriers to successfully complete the planned and emergent scopes. The team completed the maintenance outage with no personnel safety events, no significant human performance events, and with first-time weld quality.

“We appreciate the dedication of our team members to travel internationally to support our customer – a task that was not easy in the face of COVID-19 requirements,” said Mike Carpenter, vice president of Framatome’s Installed Base America Component Repair and Replacement business line. “The team remained focused on the task at hand and performed very well.”

This outage follows a successful thermal sleeve replacement campaign for the same customer that started in late 2019 and finished in early 2020. During its deployment, our team successfully performed thermal sleeve replacement at another unit on the plant’s site – also an emergent deployment – with zero safety events and first-time weld quality.

Whether planned or emergent, in the face of a pandemic or during normal operations, Framatome is committed to offering our customers the right fix at the right time.

“We have developed the industry’s most thorough solutions for thermal sleeve wear to extend the operating life of plants worldwide,” commented Mike Carpenter. “Our temporary and long-term thermal sleeve maintenance solutions enable plant operators to manage wear issues and tailor solutions for repair and replacement, while providing a predictable outage schedule and reducing overall cost.”