France’s Framatome has been awarded a contract to perform a specialised reactor vessel mitigation technique on four NPPs in the USA. The process, called cavitation peening, extends the life of the reactor vessel by protecting against corrosion. Framatome was awarded the contract at the end of 2021. The projects will be completed throughout 2022 and 2023.
Cavitation peening is a surface mitigation solution capable of preventing corrosion crack initiation without harming any components. Framatome's process operates at a higher pressure and includes parameters that achieve a greater depth of compression and allows for a more efficient overall implementation schedule.
“Nuclear plant operators can clearly see the value in using cavitation peening to protect a plant’s reactor vessel and ensure long-term operations,” said Catherine Cornand, senior executive vice president of Framatome’s Installed Base Business Unit.
Unlike other surface improvement techniques, Framatome’s solution implements the peening process without removing or modifying thermal sleeves. This enables the team to perform the procedure more safely and efficiently. This project will mark Framatome’s seventh deployment of reactor vessel head peening since 2016. Preemptive head peening projects reduce the length of repair and maintenance outages at NPPs.
Image: Framatome operator prepares cavitation peening equipment (photo courtesy of Framatome)