In order to operate aging nuclear power plant instrumentation and control systems for up to 60 more years or longer, there must be a smooth transition from existing analog technologies to advanced digital platforms. For this to occur, electromagnetic compatibility concerns related to both qualification testing and the electromagnetic environment must be addressed to ensure safe and reliable operation of these systems within the plant’s electromagnetic and radio frequency interference environment. By understanding the regulatory requirements and sharing implementation experience, digital system upgrades can be installed successfully.
It’s a digital world, and even aging power plants are experiencing the benefits of digital controls technologies. The following cover stories provide insight into the latest options and inspiration for your own plant controls projects.
Existing nuclear power plants are increasingly facing the conversion to digital instrumentation and controls technology. Meanwhile, new nuclear designs have digital technology integrated throughout the plant. Digital controls will soon be inevitable, so how do we make the transition as smooth as possible? Without losing focus on the technical solutions, organizations have to pay attention to the nontechnical issues as well.
Given delays and cancellations of new generating capacity, pushing the existing power generation fleet is more important than ever. At ELECTRIC POWER 2009, multiple presentations explored the premise that an active knowledge management strategy — requiring a blend of digital and human elements unique to each power plant — will help you extract the most productivity from your assets.
Researchers from the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) say they have developed a new type of nuclear fuel for use in next-generation high-temperature gas reactors that produces less waste — a major step forward for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP).
Japan began operating a nuclear power reactor using plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) as fuel for the first time last October. About 16 MOX-containing fuel assemblies were loaded during a scheduled outage to replace a portion of the 193 fuel assemblies at the No. 3 reactor at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear power plant. The utility eventually plans to triple the number of fuel assemblies at the 1,180-MW reactor in Saga Prefecture to 48. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry conducted its final inspection of the reactor and issued its certification on Dec. 2.
The European carbon trading system experience suggests that North American generators should expect severely altered coal-fired power plant operating profiles if cap-and-trade legislation becomes law. In a groundbreaking study, Solomon Associates predicts the reduction in mean run time that North American generators should expect. The trends outlined in this study provide an overview of some of the broad challenges facing generators in moving to a carbon-constrained market environment.
Concerns raised by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the structural strength of Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 reactor could cause delays for several nuclear plants that planned to use the design in the U.S. — and it raises questions for new builds started or proposed in China and the UK.
Most of the big utilities, with an eye to ensuring a good mix of future generation resources, have a new nuclear plant in development. Even though federal loan guarantees are slow to materialize and financing these multi-billion-dollar projects has become a bet-the-company investment, the NRC has more than 40 applications from generators that continue to believe in the future of nuclear power.
In an exclusive agreement with the EUCG Nuclear Committee, POWER was provided access to some key, high-level performance and operational data from the group’s nuclear industry benchmarking database. All U.S., and many international, nuclear power plants are members of the committee and have contributed to its database for many years. This month we introduce you to the EUCG Nuclear Committee and share sample nuclear operating costs. Look for future reports on other key performance benchmarking metrics during 2010.