Employees at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Maryland, USA have been honored with the B. Ralph Sylvia “Best of the Best” Award for an innovative pressurizer component replacement, the NEI has reported. The employees were honored for their first-of-its-kind welding process that substantially improves the efficiency and safety of the equipment replacement at Calvert Cliffs and that is adaptable to nearly 70 U.S. reactors.
The Best of the Best Top Industry Practice (TIP) award was presented at the Nuclear Energy Institute’s annual meeting. The TIP awards recognize industry innovators in 14 categories—four reactor vendor awards and nine process awards for innovation to improve safety, efficiency and nuclear plant performance—as well as an award for vision and leadership.
Constellation Energy Nuclear Group employees earned the top innovation award for pioneering the welding process applied to dozens of nozzles on the multi-ton components that pressurize reactors. The advancement reduced the time to complete each weld by nearly 80% and reduced the volume of weld material by 90%. It also substantially enhanced worker safety because the technique permitted the nozzle replacements and other nearby maintenance activities to be conducted with enhanced radiation protection.
Because the operational efficiencies also yield cost savings, the innovation has the added potential of saving electric utilities—and their customers—hundreds of millions of dollars in future uses.
“Innovations like these spanning processes, training and operational improvements have helped America’s nuclear energy facilities increase electricity production by 34% since 1990,” said Anthony R. Pietrangelo, NEI’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.