A further dismantling project for a nuclear power plant in the USA

While Germany is phasing out the generation of electricity from nuclear energy due to political considerations, other countries also have a demand for the competent dismantling of nuclear facilities, for example, because the service life of a nuclear power plant has been reached. Siempelkamp services, in the area of nuclear decommissioning and dismantling, have been consistently strong and reliable – the latest example is a recent project in the USA.

Siempelkamp’s technology and expertise concerning the effective dismantling of nuclear power plant core internals and reactor pressure vessels were in high demand in the USA between 2010 and 2015. “We provided the required special tools as well as the necessary expert support during the disassembly of the core internals and the thermal dismantling of the reactor pressure vessels of the nuclear power plant Zion in Illinois, USA,” reports Christian Jurianz, responsible for the project at Siempelkamp.

The first-time use of remote-controlled thermal cutting technology for cutting the thick reactor pressure vessel walls at this US plant became the foundation for further dismantling activities for Siempelkamp NIS Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH (Siempelkamp NIS) in North America. Based on this reference a further project could be realized now in the USA.

The recent decommissioning order affects two pressurized-water reactors by Combustion Engineering, which went into operation with an electrical capacity of 1,070 MW in 1983/1984 and permanently decommissioned due to economic reasons in 2013.

With a budget of $ 4.4 billion US, this decommissioning project in California is without doubt the largest of its kind. Over a 10-year period, all necessary fuel storage and dismantling activities will be completed, the re-cultivation of the site carried out, and the radiation levels reduced to a level that allows the unrestricted subsequent use of the location. Under compliant of strict environmental regulations with Californian authorities and the activities will be executed. This dismantling project creates approximately 600 jobs over the entire time period.

From 30 to 100 percent: project phases

In the first stage NIS was commissioned with an in-depth concept development (30% design), in other words, NIS examined the feasibility of the disassembly steps, defined the necessary disassembly tools and assigned the locations for the disassembly. Naturally, this phase is particularly characterized by a wealth of ideas. All this happens under great time pressure. After all, the customer expects to have the required disassembly tools ready for use at the power plant site within only 20 months.

This concept development phase was followed by a phase involving the detailed engineering of the tool design (100% design) to the depth of production and the interaction of the individual components combined with the primary equipment for remote control and video surveillance of the disassembly processes.

In the meantime NIS completed the 30% design for the disassembly of the core internals as well as the reactor pressure vessel to the fullest satisfaction of the customer who accepted the submittal for this phase of the project. A few month later, the 100% design for the dismantling equipment of the core internals was also finished on time and accepted by the customer. The next main interest of the customer is the on-schedule manufacturing of the equipment, which takes place exclusively at Siempelkamp Maschinenfabrik (machine factory) in Krefeld.

After the production is completed, the customer will perform an in depth acceptance test of the equipment, which includes the inspection of the interaction with the video technology and the subordinated control. This is done by means of a mock-up test under realistic conditions, in part under water. We will report on this at a later time…

Siempelkamp NIS Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH’s negotiation team

Christian Jurianz, engineering degree in nuclear power plant technology, employed at Siempelkamp since 2001. Managing Director of Siempelkamp Ingenieur und Service GmbH.

Dr. Aldo Weber, Ph. D. in Physics, employed at Siempelkamp NIS Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH since 2007. As head of the information technology and consulting department, he was initially responsible for calculating the costs of dismantling nuclear facilities and all services related to the operations. Since 2015 he has been the spokesperson of the management of Siempelkamp NIS Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH based in Alzenau. In this function he is responsible for the operational business which also includes the remote-controlled dismantling of large-scale components, the decontamination of primary circuit components, and the planning and supply of systems for the waste treatment in nuclear installations.

Stefan Dätig, graduate in engineering and employed at Siempelkamp since 2009. As a design engineer he worked on the further development of the thermal cutting process with a manipulator-guided burner. The experience he gained during the disassembly of the reactor pressure vessel at the nuclear power plant Stade resulted in his assignment to complete the challenging tasks at Zion, USA: Starting March 2011 he was present on site as planning engineer taking care of design tasks regarding the equipment used to disassemble the reactor pressure vessel internals at Zion. Later he took over the project management for the design and acquisition of the entire reactor pressure vessel disassembly equipment including acceptance tests, mock-up tests, and the on-site set-up. He then managed the team during plant planning and dismantling. Since January 2016 Stefan Dätig has been the head of the department for dismantling and consulting.

Andreas Loeb, graduate in electrical engineering and with Siempelkamp since 2003. As overall project manager he was in charge of the project “dismantling of the reactor pressure vessel and reactor pressure vessel internals of the multi-purpose research reactor Karlsruhe” until 2008. As department head for “dismantling projects” Andreas Loeb was the overall project manager for the project “dismantling of the reactor pressure vessel at the Stade nuclear power plant” starting in 2010. Furthermore, he took over the national and international sales and project management, particularly for the dismantling of primary circuit components. As department head, Andreas Loeb has been responsible for the areas of dismantling and consulting at Siempelkamp NIS since 2016.

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