PaintSquare.com
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site

 

Advertisement

PaintSquare


Coatings Industry News

Main News Page


Nuclear Plant Finds Blister, Corrosion

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Comment | More

A Pennsylvania nuclear plant is again reporting a coating defect and corrosion in one of its units, near the site of decayed wood left in the structure.

The latest defect, a coating blister, was discovered Friday (Oct. 4) during a routine inspection at Beaver Valley Power Station Unit 1 in Shippingport, PA, about 35 miles northwest of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River.

The unit was shut down Sept. 30 for refueling, maintenance and a turbine upgrade "designed to improve efficiency and reliability," owner FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company announced.

Old Wood, New Suspect

A 40-year-old piece of wood likely caused the hole, officials said, making this the third time in seven years that old wood and corrosion were discovered together at the plant.

The paint blister was discovered about seven inches off the ground.

Initially, the company was unsure of the cause, but it later reported that a piece of wood—left over from the building's construction in the mid-1970s—was likely still embedded in the concrete wall, causing the steel liner to corrode, media reports stated.

Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Plant
Nuclear Regulatory Commission

During a routine inspection, inspectors found a small area of corrosion in the steel containment liner of Beaver Valley Power Station Unit 1. The likely cause of the degradation is a chunk of wood left from the plant's construction in the 1970s, officials said.

"A piece of fibrous material, likely wood, decayed and created moisture," said Jennifer Young, spokeswoman for FirstEnergy, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

An area about 0.4 inches by 0.28 inches was discovered that "penetrated through the containment steel liner plate," Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said.

The containment building is made of a 4.5-foot-thick concrete wall and a 3/8-inch-thick steel liner.

Testing Underway

In an Event Notification from the NRC dated Oct. 5 and obtained Wednesday (Oct. 9) by PaintSquare News, the agency did not identify a cause of the defect, saying that the "cause of this discrepancy is currently being evaluated."

FirstEnergy is performing ultrasonic testing of the coatings flaw and surrounding areas, Neil Sheehan, NRC Public Affairs Officer, said via email Wednesday.

"Our Resident Inspectors assigned to Beaver Valley on a full-time basis will continue to follow up on what FirstEnergy learns from the testing, any repairs and its root-cause evaluation," Sheehan wrote.

Young told the Post-Gazette that the degradation posed no harm to public health and safety, and that the inspection process "did exactly what it was supposed to"—detect the defect before it became a bigger problem.

A request for more information from FirstEnergy was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Foreign Objects in Containment

In 2009, during a refueling outage at Unit 1, an area of intact blistered paint, about three inches in diameter, was found in the steel liner. Underneath the blister, inspectors discovered "a protruding rust product" that penetrated the entire plate thickness of the liner.

paint blister
NRC / FirstEnergy

This paint blister was discovered at Unit 1 in 2009. Decomposed wood was found underneath, and corrosion had penetrated the entire steel liner.

The culprit was a partially decomposed piece of wood embedded in the concrete, which was left behind "as a result of inadequate housekeeping and quality assurance practices" during construction in the early 1970s, the NRC reported.

In 2006, during temporary construction of an opening in Unit 1's containment structure, three areas of corrosion were discovered, according to the NRC. The probable cause was reported as exposure to oxygen and water during construction. The NRC also said that several pieces of wood had been found during inspection of the concrete debris pile, but that "no clear evidence" confirmed that the wood had caused the damage.

The holes are typically repaired by cleaning the area, grouting the concrete, welding a new steel patch to the liner, and testing its integrity, officials said.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
NRC / FirstEnergy

Three areas of corrosion were found during a 2006 inspection of Unit 1. Several pieces of wood were discovered in the concrete debris, but the NRC could not confirm that had caused the damage.

In the U.S., 66 power plants have containment buildings constructed with an inner steel liner plate and a thick concrete shell, and foreign objects have caused corrosion issues in several nuclear power plants over the years.

While many of the instances involved old pieces of wood, the NRC has also reported a work glove and a wire brush with a wooden handle embedded in the concrete walls of nuclear plants.

Outage Work

At Beaver Valley, 60 of the 157 fuel assemblies will be replaced while Unit 1 is offlline, and preventive maintenance will be performed on major components, including the plant's three steam generators, various pumps, valves and the cooling tower.

Unit 1's two low-pressure steam turbine rotors will be replaced with ones that feature an enhanced blade design that is "expected improve plant reliability, efficiency and life expectation," according to FirstEnergy.

According to FirstEnergy, "The 911-megawatt Beaver Valley Unit 1 operated safely and reliably for 507 consecutive days since the completion of its last refueling outage in May 2012."

The company did not say when the plant would return to service.

Originally licensed to operate for 40 years, the plant was issued a renewed license on Nov. 5, 2009, extending the lives of the units until 2036 and 2047.

In addition to the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station, Akron, OH-based FirstEnergy operates the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, OH, and the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, OH.

   

Tagged categories: Blistering; Coating inspection; Concrete; Corrosion; Nuclear Power Plants; Paint defects; Steel

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

Advertisements
 
Safway Services
 
Your Access Advantage. QUIKDECK®
 
Provides safe, factory-floor-like working conditions. Can be engineered to fit almost any shape, structure or size. Modular platform easily assembled from just a few basic components. Excellent containment. Applications include vessels, offshore rigs and bridges.
 

 
Detail Masters
 
Overspray Removal
 
We offer professional, turnkey service and unparalleled quality!
Our process can save hundreds— even thousands of dollars. It's fast, environmentally safe and 100% guaranteed.
 

 
SAFE Systems, Inc.
 
Enduroguard -
The Tough Cable
for a Tough Industry.
 
Reduce maintenance costs and down time, increase job site safety with Enduroguard Cable. Available exclusively from SAFE Systems. UL listed, flexible, abrasion resistant and cut resistant.
 

 
Tarps manufacturing, Inc.
 
QUALITY MADE IN AMERICA —Available near you!
 
CLICK to get a behind-the-scenes look at how Tarps Manufacturing makes the highest-quality tarps right here in the USA — available nationwide.
 

 
Termarust Technologies
 
Termarust (HR CSA) Chemically Stops
Active Corrosion
 
Arch truss treated with Termarust's (HR CSA) in 2003. This steel arch bridge is rust free on all surfaces including the crevice corroded joints and connections.
 

 
KTA-Tator, Inc. - Corporate Office
 
KTA-Tator Training Course Opportunities
 
• IACET Authorized Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Provider
• Live Basic Coatings Inspection Courses
• Customized/Private Courses
• Online/self-paced curriculums
Contact: Tiffany Kelly at 412-788-1300 x217
 

 
BASF
 
New resins from BASF will have metals loving water!
 
Excellent corrosion resistance, low VOC, high gloss, thin films www.basf.us/industrialcoatings dpsolutions@basf.com 800-231-7868
 

 
Tnemec Company, Inc.
 
Online Coating Courses from Tnemec
 
For decades, Tnemec has offered its expertise to clients presenting face-to-face coatings courses. Now, these presentations are available to anyone for CEUs at Tnemec University.
 

 
Carboline Company
 
Carboline is pouring with opportunities
 
We are proud of our exceptional products and services, and believe that people are our greatest asset. Come grow with us!
 

 
W Abrasives
 
Optimize your blasting process and operations!
 
Blasting is a complex process that goes above and beyond the simple question of the shot used, no matter how innovative and efficient it is. W Abrasives is there to help.
 

 
 
 

Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL webmaster@paintsquare.com


The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

 
EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About PaintSquare.com   |   Privacy policy   |   Terms & conditions   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us