The 2011 Top Industry Practice awards were given by the Nuclear Energy Institute in Washington D.C. with Entergy garnering national recognition in two categories: excellence in plant operations by the Indian Point Energy Center in New York for an equipment hatch plug and to Arkansas Nuclear One for materials and services excellence for the creation of the tungsten shielding and vest.
“We work very hard in a tough, demanding industry with safety as our top priority. Recognition is deserved for these two teams that have brought safety innovations to our industry in two important areas – plant operations and radiation protection,” said Entergy Nuclear President, CEO and Chief Nuclear Officer John Herron. “I am proud of them and the 6,000 other nuclear employees who are continually improving our operations as we serve our neighbors and the communities where we live.”
Arkansas Nuclear One: Tungsten Shielding
Shielding the source of radiation with lead blankets has been a long-time standard practice. The Entergy engineers in radiation protection worked with American Ceramics Technology to design a new shielding – tungsten immersed in a polymer – that is more effective and more versatile for the industry. Going a step beyond, the ANO team worked with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on new standards for shielding a person with a tungsten vest. This groundbreaking approach is being used across the Entergy fleet, enhancing worker safety.
In fact, tungsten shielding was recently sent to Japan for use in their current incident at Fukushima.
Jim Bacquet, radiation protection supervisor and project team leader, said, “Now that it has gone to Japan, it continues to be a real team success story. Because of the flexibility of the material and embedded magnets, we call it the ‘snap-on-snap-off shield because it attaches easily in the field. It is lightweight and so versatile – we even have tungsten duct tape for small spaces. The effectiveness overall is unmatched as we can maximize weight at a source, cut it in the field, lay a tungsten sheet for flooring if needed and, of course, there is the tungsten vest. Our team wears tungsten vests and gains protection we never had prior.”
Tons of tungsten shielding blankets and sheets along with 160 tungsten vests have been sent to Fukushima to date.
Arkansas Nuclear One is a two-reactor facility located in Russellville producing a total of 1,839 megawatts approximately equal to 30 percent of the total energy demand of Arkansas. Arkansas Nuclear One employs 900 people.
Indian Point: Equipment Hatch Closure Plug
The U.S. nuclear industry has been examining safety issues during outages as noted in SOER 09-1 and one particular issue relating to potential safety threats during shutdowns as a result of loss of shutdown cooling systems. The equipment hatch closure plug was created, designed, manufactured, tested and installed by the Indian Point team. Using an adaptation of a pipe plug, the IPEC team addressed the issue head-on and solved a nuclear safety issue.
Joe Goebel, Indian Point assistant outage manager, said, "The hatch plug was designed to make it significantly easier to install and seal the equipment hatch penetration than the existing equipment hatch. It reduced and in some cases, eliminated human performance traps. With time pressure and other intense activities going in the physical environment during an outage, testing and drills showed will work great to secure the area from potential radiation release within the defined time line.”
Indian Point is a two-reactor facility located in Buchanan, N.Y., producing a total of 2,069 megawatts, approximately equal to 10 percent of the total energy demand of New York. The Indian Point Energy Center employs 1,050 people.
Both teams are making donations to the American Nuclear Society fund for Japan from the monetary awards accompanying these Top Industry Practice recognitions.
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