Entergy hopes simulation will lead to savings at Waterford 3 outage this autumn

22 September 2009

US utility Entergy is using 3D modelling and simulation solutions from Dassault Systèmes to help with planning its maintenance projects, including the reactor coolant pump replacement at Waterford 3, to be carried out this autumn.

At Entergy’s Waterford 3 plant near New Orleans, Louisiana, the company simulated multiple maintenance projects using solutions from Dassault Systèmes. Projects included analyzing the impact of a potential fire on equipment located in key areas of the plant, replacing the in-core instrumentation sensor system that monitors reactor fuel conditions, and removing and replacing a reactor coolant pump motor that weighs 57 tons.

Entergy implemented a combination of Dassault Systèmes technologies toprepare for these upcoming maintenance tasks, including CATIA for modeling the plant and DELMIA to simulate the actual project work. To ensure the team had accurate dimensions of the plant, Entergy used scanning and digital photogrammetry from Dassault Systèmes’ partner Areva NP. BCP Engineers & Consultants served as the prime contractor for the projects. Entergy plans to use ENOVIA from Dassault Systèmes in the future for managing assets and engineering projects.

Modelling and simulating the replacement of the reactor coolant pump motorwas particularly important since any unanticipated delays during theproject could cost as much as $1 million per day in replacement power purchased from other utility companies. The reactor coolant pump, motor, and controls were moved into the containment building during construction in the early 1980s, but many structural elements have been added over the past 25 years that were not in the original design.

Waterford 3 leveraged CATIA digital 3D models that were created during the fire safety planning project. The up-to-date, dimensionally exact model of the reactor containment area made it possible to find equipment and structural conflicts when simulating the removal of the coolant pump motor. Two interferences were detected by modelling and simulating the task in DELMIA that might have caused major delays.

“Harvesting the use of 3D along with laser scanning technology is as transformational to the engineering and project management disciplines as moving from the slide rule to calculators was in the late 1960s and early ‘70s,” said John Mahoney, innovations leader for Entergy’s Nuclear Operations. “Combining scanning and modelling with up-to-date, advanced planning allows processes that could dramatically reduce the old industry-wide steam generator replacement average of 78.5 days. In some cases that time could be reduced by nearly 20%.”

In the future, Entergy hopes to link the project schedule activities to the 3D model, which will provide the opportunity to continue to effectively shrink outage schedules through critical path scenario optimization.

The physical plant work is to be completed in the autumn of 2009 when the new reactor coolant pump motor will be installed.

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