Readers talk back and Corrections (August 2007)

Reaction to reactor comment

On page 34 of your April article on nuclear power, the author mischaracterized the maturity of one of the new reactors that have been submitted for NRC approval.

The statement, "None of the advanced reactors that the NRC has certified (by reviewing engineering documents) has a performance record," is incorrect. GE’s advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) is a certified design with a significant operating record in Japan. Indeed, the prospect of lower project costs and risks is why NRG Energy has proposed using the ABWR for South Texas Project Units 3 and 4.

Tim Hurst, Hurst Technologies Corp.

Different view of nuclear I&C

In the lead paragraph of the January article, "Tow nuclear power I&C out of the ‘digital ditch,’ " Contributing Editor Tim Hurst writes that "The application of digital I&C technology at U.S. nuclear plants is not going well."

I’d like to offer a different point of view. Sargent & Lundy has been involved in more than 50 digital upgrade projects over the last seven years. Some have been difficult, with more hurdles than anticipated. But in each case the outcome has been successful.

Later in the article, Mr. Hurst quotes Tricia Bolian of Areva NP Inc., who claims that "performance across vendors and projects has been poor." Our experience has been different. We have had no trouble working with many of the suppliers to these projects.

To be fair, the introduction of digital instrumentation and control technology at U.S. nuclear plants should be described as having a mix of successes and failures. Generalizing the situation as a "digital ditch" bundles the successful projects with the unsuccessful ones and prevents us from learning lessons from the former—just what the industry needs.

Sargent & Lundy believes there’s no need to be apprehensive about applying digital technology either as part of a nuclear plant upgrade or at new nuclear plants. Two keys to project success are keeping an open mind and insisting on doing things right.

S. Raychaudhuri, Senior Manager, Nuclear Power Technologies, Sargent & Lundy

Corrections

Time condensed

I have enjoyed and profited from your magazine for over 20 years, and I appreciated the retrospective article in your May issue. However, that article contains a sentence on page 32 that should be corrected. It reads, "POWER magazine was launched that year [in 1882], not too long after introduction of the first practical steam engine by James Watt in England."

Since Watt patented the separate condenser for his steam engine in 1769, I think "not too long" may mislead readers.

David C. Griffith, ConocoPhillips Co. Editor responds: You’re not the only reader with sharp eyes who caught this glaring error. Even my "editorial license" doesn’t cover this faux pas. Thanks for writing.

What’s in a name?

Because Siemens Power Generation is transitioning its equipment nomenclature, we became "lost in translation" at two points in the June article, "Siemens G-Class technology builds for the future." On page 44, the reference to the "SGT6-6000F" should read "SGT-5000F." Similarly, on page 46, we referred to an early 1990s SGT6-6000G. This machine was actually the W501F, which is now called the SGT-5000F.

POWER regrets the mistakes.