The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) recognized Southern Nuclear with a Top Innovation Practice (TIP) award in the nuclear fuel category at the recent NEI 2021 Annual Meeting. The prestigious award acknowledges creative ideas and practices that have a direct impact on improving the safety and reliability of nuclear energy.
The TIP award highlights an industry first-of-a-kind operating strategy at Plant Hatch that leverages high-worth SCRAM rods (HWSR) to improve operating limits developed with TRACG-AOO methods. TRACG is a transient reactor analysis code originally developed by nuclear engineering departments and our national lab system in the late 1970s and early 1980s. TRACG-AOO is the GE proprietary version of the TRAC method to analyze anticipated operational occurrences for boiling water reactors that received initial Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval for use in the early 2000s.
Southern Nuclear, in collaboration with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy leveraged the existing approved methodology with an innovative application, and the team was able to increase operating flexibility and reduce fuel costs. This application realized up to a four-bundle reduction in fresh fuel batch size — approximately $1.6M reduction in fuel cost per reload. In addition to fuel cost reductions, the HWSRs allow Plant Hatch Operations and Reactor Engineering teams to have additional margin to address equipment conditions that may arise during the operating cycle.
“High worth scram rods represent an opportunity to provide additional operating margin to Operators and to reduce fuel cost. We appreciate our teammates in Nuclear Fuel and Analysis for implementing this innovation to support the station,” said Hatch Engineering Director John Williams.
Southern Nuclear also received other awards during the meeting. The company’s Birmingham NAYGN Chapter earned Best Chapter in Diversity & Inclusion and the Vogtle 3&4 Chapter won Best Chapter in Knowledge Transfer and Retention at the 2020 NAYGN Annual Awards.
The Birmingham Chapter was recognized as a chapter that is committed to significantly promoting diversity, inclusion and cultural competency development among their site and community. This award highlights the chapter’s efforts to address key areas of diversity, equity and inclusion; lead initiatives in capturing outcomes of increased awareness and understanding; implementing steps towards fostering an inclusive environment or improving cultural competency through educational initiatives.
The Vogtle 3&4 Chapter was recognized for its commitment to addressing Knowledge Transfer and Retention (KTR) in the nuclear industry. This award salutes chapters for meeting NAYGN KTR objectives and innovating/advancing KTR practices.