GE Steam Power said Tuesday that it had completed a major steam turbine and generator outage at the Cernavoda Nuclear Power Plant in Romania in only 30 days. The work was completed despite a scheduling setback blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $120 million project proceeded under safety precautions put in place to reduce risks of personnel contracting or passing along the deadly virus. GE and Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectricak signed the contract for the work in 2019 with the original start date set at April 2020. Work was postponed in part because of travel restrictions put in place while the coronavirus was making its way around the globe. During that time, specialists from the United States were unable to fly on commercial services, pushing GE to charter a plane to get U.S. technicians to the plant.
The work in Romania was completed “with no safety incidents – during the COVID-19 pandemic,” GE said.
\Cernavoda NPP is the only commercial nuclear plant in Romania and accounts for 20 percent of the country’s electricity generation.
“Cernavoda is among the most important resources of power in Romania,” said Cosmin Ghita, CEO of SNN. “Keeping the site operational to deliver CO2-free power is critical for both our country’s energy supply and environmental commitments.”
GE said one of the major hurdles was simply bringing technicians in for the work that required several field specialists to be brought in from outside Europe. Besides the chartered flight, GE also brought in two Environmental Health and Safety exports to oversee safety protocols to meet the challenges imposed by the pandemic. The company noted SNN’s role in maintaining safety protocols.
“Sometimes extraordinary times require extraordinary measures,” said GE Steam Power Europe General Manager Paul Wise.
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