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Nuclear Plant Coating Takes the Plunge

Thursday, August 23, 2012

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Commercial nuclear divers and a protective coatings maker have teamed up to complete a dramatic underwater coatings project at a nuclear plant.

The project was a collaboration by Connecticut-based Underwater Construction Corporation (UCC), which bills itself as the leading provider of underwater services to government and commercial facilities;  and UK-based TFT Nuclear, which makes high-performance epoxy polymer coatings for industrial and underwater use.

 UCC says it completed 90 percent of the world’s commercial nuclear dives in 2011.

 Underwater Construction Corp.

UCC says it completed 90 percent of the world’s commercial nuclear dives in 2011.

The project was the third phase of the unidentified plant’s “Life Extension Program” and used the companies’ Advanced Underwater Coatings System, said Philip McDermott, Director of Global Nuclear Services for UCC.

Underwater Relining

The concrete, epoxy-lined spent fuel basin and handling ponds were relined underwater by nuclear divers, as dewatering was not a viable option, the companies said in a release.

The fuel basin contained fuel, radioactive components and radioactive debris that had accumulated over many years of plant operation. The concrete fuel basin’s epoxy coating system had deteriorated to a condition that warranted relining. The original epoxy coating was showing blistering, delamination, cracking and mechanical damage.

Inspection, Prep, Application

The third phase of the project consisted of about 300 square meters of inspection, preparation and coatings application. “The strategic use of nuclear divers proved to be a safe, efficient, and cost-effective for the nuclear utility,” the companies said.

UCC’s Advanced Underwater Coatings System used TFT Nuclear’s Bio-Dur 560 Underwater Coatings Product, which has been used in nuclear facilities worldwide for more than 15 years.

TFT touts the coatings system as suitable for large underwater areas, including concrete spent fuel basins. The coating can be applied underwater for repair or recoat or as a contamination control technique for later decommissioning activities.

Underwater Coatings

UCC specializes in underwater services for nuclear, fossil, and hydroelectric power generation; commercial marine shipping; highway and transportation; oil, gas, and power transmission; water utilities; and other markets.

The company says it completed more than 90% of the world’s nuclear dive projects in 2011. A video shows the company’s nuclear work.

UCC says  the Advanced Underwater Coating System process can be used underwater in large areas on concrete, carbon steel and stainless steel and other substrates without dewatering, decontamination, elevated radiation exposure, or scaffolding.


Tagged categories: Coating failure; Epoxy; Linings; Nuclear Power Plants; Oil and Gas; Paint application; Polymers; Protective coatings

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