Completion of Largest Baffle Bolt Campaign in U.S. Nuclear Industry

Posted January 4, 2021 by Westinghouse Electric Company

Strong collaboration and technical expertise resulted in highest production rate ever achieved globally.

The Challenge
During Salem Unit 1’s scheduled 2020 refueling outage, PSEG identified the need to replace of 372 baffle bolts over a 40-day period. Understanding that this effort would require a large crew to mobilize quickly while upholding the highest of safety precautions amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PSEG contracted Westinghouse to support the initiative.

Our Solution
As the global leader in developing and deploying technologies addressing long-term management of aging reactor internals, Westinghouse is a proven partner in responding to the irradiation-assisted stress corrosion cracking of baffle-former bolts. Our teams leveraged lessons learned and advanced technology to find unique approaches that resulted in improved efficiency and decreased schedule impact.

  • A Westinghouse operator used critical problem-solving to load tooling without having to raise the cartage to the surface to perform this task manually. 
  • Engineered a new way to evaluating torque values, preventing the need to use H03 bolts
  • An underwater end effector changing fixture reduced motion and handling time 
  • Underwater decon station reduced crew dose and implementation timeline

Collaboration was also a key component in the successful implementation of this project. Strong teamwork and communication between both PSEG and Westinghouse field experts maintained a positive and efficient environment between teams working towards a shared goal.

The successful implementation on this FOAK project build on Westinghouse’s more than 30 years of experience in providing baffle-former bolt analysis, inspection and replacement services, with demonstrated capabilities required for addressing reactor internals aging. 

The Impact

The campaign achieved a new record for baffle bolt replacement in the U.S. nuclear industry, beating the previous record by more than 10 percent. A crew of PSEG and Westinghouse experts completed the effort in 28 days with a 30 percent increase in production – an organizational best for PSEG baffle bolt campaigns. These industry milestones created tangible cost savings that enabled safe and efficient operations and returned the plant online faster. 

Key Statistics

  • Peak production rate of 19 bolts in a 24-hour period
  • Zero industrial safety issues, or FME & PCE events
  • Teams stayed below ALARA targets every day throughout the project

Learn more about baffle bolt services by clicking here. 

Categories: Innovation