France’s Framatome on 17 May signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Dominion Energy to provide steam generator services to the company’s entire nuclear reactor fleet. The inspection and maintenance work is scheduled to take place during eight outages from 2018 to 2020.

Framatome will deploy Trident, its next-generation steam generator inspection system, as part of these services. Trident can deliver up to three separate probes to inspect an entire steam generator. This technology reduces dose and inspection time while improving safety and human performance, by utilising robots such as the recently added light, mobile Forerunner.  

The spider-like movements of Forerunner, in all working positions, on horizontal or vertical tubesheets, adapt to different steam generator geometries. Framatome said the size and design minimises installation and inspection times by providing improved access to the steam generator tubes for inspection and repair. It can also calculate the optimal inspection path using an intelligent path algorithm, which can decrease inspection time by 30-50%. Forerunner, which is manufactured by Croatia's INETEC-Institute for Nuclear Technology, was launched last November.

 Framatome will service the steam generators during scheduled outages at the Millstone nuclear station in Connecticut, and at the North Anna and Surry in Virginia. Each plant features two operating pressurised water reactors.

Photo: The Forerunner steam generator inspection robot