POWER [May, 1 2010]

Cover Stories

The U.S. Spent Nuclear Fuel Policy: Road to Nowhere

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act and Amendments of 1982 and 1987 established a national policy and schedule for developing geologic repositories for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes. Those deadlines have come and gone; the cancellation of Yucca Mountain was only the latest failure of this policy to become reality. The task of finding a new storage location is now a political committee’s homework assignment. History tells us that committee members have been given an impossible task.

Features

A Burning Concern: Combustible Dust

If not properly controlled, coal and coal dust can cause fires, explosions, and implosions at power plants. Strategies for promoting safer management of these combustibles include actions such as training personnel exposed to the hazards of coal and coal dust about safe handling methods.

Adding Desalination to Solar Hybrid and Fossil Plants

Shrinking water supplies will unquestionably constrain the development of future power plants. A hybrid system consisting of concentrated solar thermal power and desalination to produce water for a plant, integrated with a combined cycle or conventional steam plant, may be the simple solution.

Dry Injection of Trona for SO3 Control

In 2006 and 2007, POWER ran a three-part series on the formation of SO3, O&M issues caused by SO3, and sorbent injection control for SO3 control. Three years later, many plants still struggle with their SO 3 mitigation systems or remain undecided on which mitigation path to follow. This article explores the advantages of dry sorbent injection technology.

First Posiflow Benson Boiler Completes Seven Years of Service

Seven years have passed since the world’s first low mass flux vertical tube once-through furnace was put into operation by Doosan Babcock at the Yaomeng Thermal Power Plant Unit 1 in China. That boiler replaced a boiler of another design that had become unreliable. The operating experience with the Posiflow design has been so positive that the owner has since ordered and commissioned a replacement for Unit 2’s boiler. Here’s what makes this furnace design unique.

Forensic Engineering: A Valuable Tool in Incident Investigations

Much like the crime scene investigators on the CSI TV shows, power plant investigation teams are increasingly employing forensic engineering methods to gather evidence and determine the causes of malfunctions of equipment, materials, or products that result in personal injuries or property damage. Case studies show how different investigation teams used their forensic engineering expertise to examine a dust collector explosion, a coal terminal fire, and the failure of a forced draft fan.

Natural Gas Piping: It’s Time for Better Risk Control

At least 10 workers have died from natural gas piping explosions in the past 12 months. The most recent disaster, which occurred during gas system purging at the Kleen Energy Systems plant, claimed five lives and injured 27 workers. It’s time the industry understood the unique design and safety requirements for working with and purging natural gas piping.

Power in Mexico: A Brief History of Mexico’s Power Sector

Mexico, one of the few countries in Latin America that has resisted the tide of liberalization, retains a monopolistic state player in the electricity market. In treading its own path by maintaining the government’s predominance in the sector, Mexico has an important question to answer: Is this path sustainable?

Power in Mexico: A Regulatory Framework with Little Flexibility

Mexico’s federal government retains almost total control over who builds and owns what electricity infrastructure. But if you know how to work within the strict constraints, it is possible to engage in profitable projects.

Power in Mexico: Mexico’s Generation Mix

Mexico enjoys considerable fuel diversity for powering its generating plants, and its goal is to become even more diversified.

Power in Mexico: Renewables Remain More Desired than Real

Mexico has already developed substantial large hydro and geothermal resources. However, without policy changes and government-sponsored financial incentives, unconventional renewable sources are taking the equivalent of baby steps.

Power in Mexico: Risks and Rewards

State control of the electricity sector may mean fewer customers, but it also can mean clearer expectations.

Power in Mexico: Three Keys to Success for the Service and Manufacturing Sector

NAFTA was both good and bad for Mexico. In both cases, it required a different approach to doing business, and the effects of that shift are still playing out.

Resurrecting Nuclear: "We Have to Get It Right"

Offers of nuclear loan guarantees are pending, construction permit applications are at an industry high, and the political stars seem to be properly aligned. However, there remains one obstacle in the development path of the next-generation of nuclear plants: How will these plants be financed?

Departments

Commentary

How Green Is Green Power?

The demand for "green" electricity — electricity produced from renewable sources like wind, solar, hydropower, geothermal, and biofuels — is at an all-time high in the U.S. Over the past decade, solar and wind capacity have increased dramatically due largely to mandatory renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which have now been adopted by 27 states.

New Products

Combo Temp and Humidity Sensor

E Instruments has just released its TH300 humidity and temperature sensor, which is ideal for applications that require a single, high-accuracy instrument. The sensor measures relative and absolute humidity, dew…

Infrared Camera Measures Through Flames

Lenox Instrument Co. announced its new FireSight Thermal Imaging Camera System designed specifically to provide clear, real-time monitoring and accurate, noncontact temperature measurement through combustion flames. Temperature data are transmitted…

Limitorque Adds DC Inputs

Flowserve Corp. has added 24- to 48-volt DC-input power for all sizes of Flowserve Limitorque QX electronic valve actuators. The QX offers reliability for remote applications that require an uninterrupted…

Measure Methane Flow

The Fluid Components International ST51 flow meter is designed to measure the flow of biogases, methane, and other greenhouse gas mixtures. The flow meter comes in an explosion-proof instrument and…

New and Improved Loctite Formula

Henkel Corp. has introduced two new Loctite threadlockers formulated to withstand consistent operating temperatures up to 360F. Curing consistently and thoroughly without cleaning, these new products tolerate the oils and…

Wireless Clamp Meter

Extech Instruments introduced the EX845, a 1,000A AC/DC CAT IV clamp meter with new METERLiNK technology and a built-in infrared thermometer. METERLiNK wirelessly connects FLIR infrared cameras to Extech meters…

Legal & Regulatory

Defining the Elephant: Smart Grid Status Check

There is no doubt that the year-plus since passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) has borne witness to a great deal of activity among the diverse groups of smart grid stakeholders.

Focus on O&M

Competitive Maintenance Strategies, Part III

This third and final installment addresses three more areas where an investment in good maintenance practices pays operating availability dividends.

Laser Hole-Shaping Improves Combustion Turbine Efficiency

Laser shaping technology has evolved from a two-step process into a single process that drills and shapes holes through a TBC, bond coat, and airfoil base metal to create a finished product.

Global Monitor

CERAWeek 2010: "Energy: Building a New Future"

For the past 26 years, Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) has hosted an annual CERAWeek conference in Houston that is renowned for high-profile attendees from around the world. During the week of March 8, security was tight as oil ministers from the Middle East and CEOs from the largest oil and gas companies and electric utilities rolled into Houston to exchange ideas and forecasts. More than 1,200 delegates from 55 countries attended to hear more than 100 distinguished speakers discuss a business that seems to have renewed optimism about the future.

Speaking of Power

Bridge to a Dead End

The Brattle Group released a provocative study paper in March in which the authors postulate that using more natural gas for generating electricity could reduce our dependence on coal-fired generation and reduce carbon emissions. Also discussed is an unexpected side effect: Renewables could push natural gas plants down in the dispatch mix in the future. Just because natural gas reserves are at a record high and the price is at historic lows doesn’t mean that gas demand will increase.

Bridge to a Dead End

The Brattle Group released a provocative study paper in March in which the authors postulate that using more natural gas for generating electricity could reduce our dependence on coal-fired generation…

GBR Reports