Maintenance resources available 24/7 for pumps in nuclear power plants

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Reverse engineering starts with precision measurements

As a pump manufacturer and independent maintenance provider, Sulzer is placed to offer specialist technical knowledge and support for all types of pumps, including those from other manufacturers. One area that requires specialist skills and expertise is the nuclear power sector and Sulzer has established a service center in Chattanooga, USA, that offers a comprehensive suite of resources tailored to this application.

Eric Jenkins, Manager Nuclear Sales at Chattanooga, explains: “Every part of a project is handled by highly experienced engineers, managers and designers to ensure that every repair, upgrade or reverse engineering task is delivered on time with particular attention to industry specifications.”

In a recent project, Sulzer has designed and manufactured a set of six replacement raw water cooling pumps for a nuclear installation. The new pumps had a lower specific speed than the originals, reducing their power requirements, which improved the margin on the diesel generators. The pumps met all of the required specifications as well improving performance and reducing vibration.

The key to this improvement was understanding the pump curves and how they interact with each other. Previous issues with original pumps were resolved but, more importantly, the amount of power required from the diesel generators to run the pumps was significantly reduced. This action removed any need to re-rate the generators, which could have cost millions of dollars.

Making the grade

Where necessary, Sulzer assumes responsibility for the design, reverse engineering and certification of pumps and assemblies for most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The quality assurance program employed at Chattanooga Service Center is certified and audited to meet the requirements of 10CFR50 Appendix B, part 21, and ASME N and NPT Class 1, 2 and 3.

The focus on improved durability can often involve improving the metallurgy of a component or refining impeller geometry to minimize cavitation. Every application has its own set of challenges and Sulzer is fully equipped to assess performance, deliver specific recommendations and implement them.

Using state-of-the-art data capture tools, laser scanners and precision machine tools, Sulzer can create new components with improved hydraulic performance and extended durability.

In addition to planned support, there is also a demand for out-of-hours assistance. The power generation industry operates round the clock and as a key provider of engineering support, the service center at Chattanooga offers support 24/7.

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