AREVA to field-test new anti-corrosion process on Byron plant reactor

AREVA said late last week that it has completed validation testing on a new component-asset management process known as ultra-high-pressure cavitation peening, which will be used on reactor vessel closure heads (RVCH).

The process is meant to improve components’ ability to avoid corrosion cracking due to stress. The company said it uses high-pressure water to create vapor bubbles that can facilitate compressive stresses within internal surfaces at a high-level force. This improves the materials' physical properties, the company said.

The process will be used for the first time in the field at Exelon's Byron Nuclear Power Plant near Byron, Illinois, in April.

The validation process consists of simulated field testing with a reactor vessel head under simulated real-world conditions.

“Our team completed this important milestone in support of the upcoming Byron outage safely, successfully and ahead of schedule,” George Beam, senior vice president of Installed Base Services at AREVA, said. “Completion of this key milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to operational excellence and to supporting the continued operation of the existing reactor fleet.”

The process will be utilized again at the Braidwood Generating Station in Braceville, Illinois, after the Byron trial run. Both facilities house pressurized water reactors.

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