Fuel channel installations in progress
August 12, 2011
The Refurbishment Project team has started the fuel channel installation sequence and has successfully completed approximately six per cent of the 380 installations. The fuel channel installation activities are progressing well along the planned timeline in a safe and quality manner. This sequence is expected to be completed in December 2011.
On July 15, 2011, NB Power announced that AECL had successfully completed the installation and testing of all 380 calandria tubes in the reactor vessel. Following that milestone, workers completed the required transition activities for fuel channel installation and started installations shortly after.
The NB Power and AECL team continues to work around the clock to complete all project activities safely and with the quality expected by New Brunswickers in order to complete the retubing work by May 2012. After the commissioning activities have been completed, the Station is expected to return to service by the fall of 2012 and deliver safe and reliable power to New Brunswick for the next 25 to 30 years.
“We’re pleased by AECL’s quick transition from the calandria tube work to the fuel channel installations,” said Rod Eagles, NB Power Refurbishment Project Director. “The successful early days of this sequence demonstrate that our training and preparation are paying off in field execution. Our team of dedicated and highly skilled workers remains on track to meet the project targets.”
The fuel channel installation sequence is very complex as there are multiple steps that need to be executed systematically in order to complete a full installation of each fuel channel.
A subassembly (consisting of a pressure tube and one end fitting) is assembled at the AECL Saint John mock-up facility and transported to the Station. Following the insertion of this subassembly inside of the recently installed calandria tubes located inside the reactor vessel, spacers are put in place at four precise positions along the length of the pressure tube. These spacers will maintain the distance between the pressure and calandria tubes. A second end fitting is then installed on the opposite end and attached to the pressure tube with a rolled joint. The end fitting outlet ports are then aligned to the proper position and welded to the bellows on both sides of the reactor. Finally, positioning assemblies are installed.
Activities to restart the Station continue. The NB Power team will ensure that the remaining commissioning activities are carried out in accordance with all operating and regulatory requirements.
Project updates will continue to be issued on a monthly basis and will include progress on project milestones. The major milestones include:
- Fuel channel installation completion (December 2011)
- Lower feeder installation completion (May 2012)
- Return to service and generating electricity (fall 2012)