12072016Wed
Last updateTue, 06 Dec 2016 8pm

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HR Professionals Gather at VMA Workshop

HR Professionals Gather at VMA Workshop

Human resources managers, executives rep...

Valves in a Cement Slurry Line

Valves in a Cement Slurry Line

Basically everywhere you look in modern ...

Triple Offset Butterfly Valves

Triple Offset Butterfly Valves

Since their introduction to the market m...

Digital Valve Control Leads to Increased Plant Availability

Digital Valve Control Leads to Increased Plant Availability

Surge is characterized by fast flow reve...

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Industry Headlines

Industry Headlines

Apollo Valves Combining with Shurjoint Mechanical Groove Systems

10 HOURS AGO

Aalberts Industries, parent company of Apollo Valves, has acquired 100% of Shurjoint Piping Products USA, Inc., Haohan Metal (Kunshan) Co. Ltd. and Shurjoint Metals Inc., effective November 29, 2016. The acquisition will be led by Aalberts CEO Glenn L. Mosack and sr. vice president global sales and ma...

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Largest Canadian Ethanol Producer Wins Emerson Reliability Award

11 HOURS AGO

Ethanol Greenfield’s Varennes, Quebec site won the 2016 Reliability Program of the Year at the Emerson Global Users Exchange in Austin. The site converts corn into fuel-grade ethanol, distillers grains, carbon dioxide and corn oil.

Emerson’s Reliability Program of the Year recognizes specif...

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New Pipeline Safety Rule Expands Excess Flow Valve Requirements Again

8 HOURS AGO

In October, 2016, The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced a final rule that expands safety requirements for excess flow valves (EFVs) to multi-residential and commercial applications. That version of the rule covered the installation of EFVs in new or replaced se...

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New Wastewater Rules Preceded Reduction in Seismic Activity

10 HOURS AGO

“The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has dropped dramatically since late May, when the state limited wastewater injections into energy wells,” according to a statistical analysis from the Associated Press .

“This year, before the new rules went into effect on May 28, Oklahoma averaged 2...

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ISM: U.S. Manufacturing Expands at Best Pace in Five Months

1 DAY AGO

Manufacturing expanded in November as the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 53.2%, an increase of 1.3% from the October reading of 51.9%, indicating growth in manufacturing for the third consecutive month. A reading above 50% indicates that the ma...

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U.S. Adds 178,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate at 4.6%

4 DAYS AGO

The unemployment rate declined 0.3% to 4.6% in November, and total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 178,000, the Department of Labor reported today. Employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.

Employment in construction continued on its recent upward trend...

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Actuation in Nuclear Power Plants

vmfall11_nuclear_h

The thousands of actuators used in a nuclear plant face some pretty tough conditions as well as rigorous testing.

Currently, 104 nuclear power-plant reactors are working in the United States, and all of them have operating environments that are extremely challenging. Of those 104 plants, 35 are classified as boiling and 69 as pressurized water reactors.

While the design details vary from plant to plant, each nuclear facility has thousands of valve actuators used in various processes and applications. The newest-generation nuclear plant has more than 13,000 valves.

It’s clear, then, that valve actuators play vital roles in maintaining process safety, efficiency and productivity in a wide range of situations.

This article contains a brief description of some of the special circumstances encountered in challenging nuclear environments and the different styles of actuators used to meet demanding operational and safety requirements.

STRICT GUIDELINES AND REQUIREMENTS

vmfall11_nuclear_electric_actuatorWith O-ring sealed covers in place on this electric actuator, the motor, limit and torque switches, as well as other electrical components, are housed within a pressure-tight enclosure. This keeps out dirt and moisture and prevents breathing from expansion and contraction of the internal air caused by temperature changes.All equipment used in nuclear plants built in the United States is certified under stringent guidelines mandated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Verification of reactors or equipment to standards from other countries is not acceptable for the 104 working reactors in the U.S.

To understand basic requirements the nuclear power industry faces in this nation, a review of the similarities and differences between nuclear power and fossil power is helpful.

In a fossil power plant, coal might be crushed and mixed with air to boil water, which produces steam to drive a turbine. With nuclear reactions, the process is different, but the operational objective is essentially the same—to heat water to produce steam to drive a turbine. With a coal steam generator, the activity of burning the pulverized coal and producing steam is contained within what is termed the “boiler island.” Because of the strong similarity to what happens in the coal plant, many engineers and technicians in a nuclear plant refer to the area where steam generation occurs as the “nuclear island.”

vmfall11_nuclear_cutawayThis cutaway illustration shows the internal components of a typical electric actuator.Within the nuclear reactor, equipment must meet rigorous standards. Since radiation is very high, the standards require all equipment materials used in this phase of the process to withstand high levels of radiation for the life of the plant. Therefore, materials such as iron or steel are required rather than aluminum. Also, temperatures in this portion of the plant are elevated, which will affect seal materials. The combination of severe environmental conditions determines the various coatings and paints allowed for use in this area, which is known as “inside containment.”

To be suitable for service in a nuclear reactor, an actuator must go through specific testing by outside testing agencies. The test reports produced must then be reviewed not only by the actuator suppliers, but by consulting engineers and the utilities themselves. Many documents also are reviewed by the NRC.

The tests for actuators used “inside containment” apply to all styles. The plants use electric motor operators as well as pneumatic cylinder actuators and hydraulic cylinder actuators. All of these actuators must be tested to ensure they can withstand the environment for their expected lives. Also, in addition to environmental concerns, the actuators must be able to operate during extreme accident conditions such as an earthquake.

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