Framatome has completed the first of 12 low-pressure feedwater heater replacements at Arizona Public Service's Palo Verde nuclear power plant as part of a seven-year campaign to replace all the feedwater heaters at the three-unit plant.
Framatome's project team supplied and installed the 50-tonne component at Palo Verde 1, which included the removal of 24 sections of pipe and 370 field welds. The team used 3D modelling in the component and piping design, as well as precision measurements.
Feedwater heaters pre-heat water used in the steam generator, increasing the performance of a nuclear energy facility. They are part of the plant's condensate feedwater system, which condenses steam from the turbogenerators which is then deaerated and ultimately returned back to the steam generator. Over time, the tubing in feedwater heaters erodes, so the components must eventually be repaired or replaced to ensure long-term efficient operations.
Palo Verde is the only US nuclear power plant not located on a body of water, and recycles municipal wastewater from the city of Phoenix for plant cooling. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the plant produces 27% of the state of Arizona's total electricity and 71% of its emission-free generation. The plant has a net generating capacity of 3937 MWe. Palo Verde 1 and 2 entered commercial operation in 1986, followed by unit 3 in 1988. Unit 1 is currently licensed to operate until 2045, unit 2 until 2046 and unit 3 until 2047.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News