Helping to Make Power Responsibly

Diver using hand-dredging technique
Diver using hand-dredging technique

UESI is helping nuclear utilities protect marine life while maintaining uninterrupted power production.  Half a million gallons of cooling water per minute is needed to operate a typical nuclear reactor safely.  Multi-unit plants need double or triple that amount.  Because an inexhaustible source is necessary to supply such a huge volume of water, many plants are located near, and draw their water from, the sea.  The proximity of a wide variety of marine life requires that plants take great care to avoid endangering delicate ecosystems.

Moving up to a billion gallons or more of water a day at the high flow rates needed to keep a reactor cool and control the nuclear reaction, means using equipment that could unintentionally injure or kill fish or marine mammals.  Nuclear plants go to great lengths and considerable expense to ensure the safety of both their marine and human neighbors.  Divers, like those provide by UESI, play an important role in this.

Intake and discharge tunnels, canals, intake screens, and large cooling water pumps require constant maintenance as do the components of these systems designed to protect sea turtles, manatee, dolphin, and large pelagic marine fish.  UESI is currently providing such services too a number of plants.  Because much of this work is environmentally sensitive or potentially risky, it has been necessary for UESI to work with plants to develop innovative approaches.  For example, cleaning the trash screens that prevent clogging of cooling water intakes normally requires shutting down cooling water pumps which may also requiring shutting down the plant.  To avoid expensive down time, UESI has worked with plants to develop procedures that allow divers to work safely in high flow areas.  Keeping water moving efficiently through intake canals often requires dredging large quantities of sediment.  The heavy equipment normally employed in dredging operations is expensive, difficult to mobilize in restricted areas, and may put marine life at risk.  Using divers allows dredging operations to be carried out with surgical precision and prevents damage to delicate structures, such as the nets designed to protect sea turtles.

If you would like to know more about what UESI is doing to help nuclear plants generate power responsibly and cost effectively, please contact us via the website or at 772-337-3116.