GE Steam Power said it completed a major steam turbine and generator outage at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant Romania during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
The outage was carried out as part of a $120 million multi-year service agreement GE signed with Societatea Nationala Nuclearelectrica (SNN) in 2019.
Originally scheduled for April, the outage was postponed until September as COVID-19 spread across the region. However, at the request of SNN, the project was re-accelerated to begin in June. The outage work was completed after just 30 days, GE said.
One of the biggest challenges during the project involved getting the required field personnel to the Cernavoda site from outside Europe. While GE largely draws on local resources to support its European customers, it said the outage required several field specialists from the USA to perform the work, including generator and field materials exclusion maintenance.
With flight restrictions and unexpected cancellations due to the pandemic, GE took the unusual step of hiring a charter flight to transport the specialists. GE also brought in two Environmental, Health and Safety experts to oversee safety protocols throughout the outage project while SNN tested the onsite workers daily.
“Cernavoda is among the most important sources of power in Romania,” said Cosmin Ghita, CEO of SNN. “Keeping the site operational to deliver CO2-free power is critical to both our country’s energy supply and environmental commitments."
The two-unit Cernavoda station, with installed capacity of 1400MW comprises two pressurised heavy water reactors, which account for about 20% of Romania's electricity production.
“Sometimes extraordinary times require extraordinary measures,” said Paul Wise, general manager, GE Steam Power Europe. “In close collaboration with SNN, we were able to make possible what felt in May like the impossible. This project exemplifies the efforts of our team this year, with more than 200 outages executed in the first half of 2020 alone in Europe, despite the hurdles related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This level of productivity has been possible thanks to the partnership of customers like SNN.”
GE’s local team has been supporting Cernavoda for 33 years, including performing all maintenance services since 2004.
Photo: GE Steam Power completed an outage at Cernavoda nuclear power plant during the height of the coronavirus pandemic (Photo: GE)