(Third in a series of videos recorded at the ANS Annual Meeting, June 2017 in San Francisco)
By Will Davis
It’s impossible in today’s nuclear energy world not to focus attention on the engineering and construction aspects of modern nuclear power plants. The recent work stoppage at, and planned abandonment of, the much-heralded V. C. Summer nuclear plant expansion has thrust into the limelight all aspects of nuclear power plant construction – and, right along with that, all the possible modes and potential pitfalls of methods for financing nuclear plant construction. It’s clear that at least so far as the large GW-scale (Gigawatt, or 1000 Megawatt) light water plant variety is concerned, cost and schedule will be foremost in everyone’s minds for some time.
At the 2017 ANS Annual Meeting, Mark Peres, the executive project director for Fluor / NuScale Power, delivered an interesting and informative presentation on various innovations now occurring in the field of nuclear plant design and construction. Peres was well-suited for this presentation. The NuScale nuclear plant overall design is more and more widely becoming considered as a benchmark for containing and constraining design complexity, as well as the base cost of the plant and project cost (given the simplicity of the design and intended ease of construction).
In his presentation, Peres outlined the fact that modern-day information management ought to be able to, if properly employed, streamline the delivery of materials at a work site (which for a GW scale plant is an enormous and very complicated multi-acre area) and efficiently direct labor. He also detailed computer modeling, which nowadays is considered essential prior to launching any large infrastructure projects’ construction.
Quite properly, Peres also included somewhat of a warning about deployment of new construction methodology and technology as he pointed out that new things take considerable time to wind their way through codes and standards, as well as regulatory approval.
As Peres points out, new design and construction technologies may or may not fit any particular project’s timeline, and it must be considered that dependence on any particular technological advancement might actually result in delay of the project. Watch this interesting video.
Will Davis is a member of the Board of Directors for the N/S Savannah Association, Inc. He is a consultant to the Global America Business Institute, a contributing author for Fuel Cycle Week, and he writes his own popular blog Atomic Power Review. Davis is also a consultant and writer for the American Nuclear Society, and serves on the ANS Communications Committee and the Book Publishing Committee. He is a former U.S. Navy reactor operator and served on SSBN-641, USS Simon Bolivar.