Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Nuclear Plant hires PICA to test its fire water pipeline

Xcel Energy, like every power station, refinery or chemical plant, has fire water pipelines that are relied on to provide water at full pressure to fight fires when necessary.

Many plants use lake or river water which can contain silt and microbes. Because the pipelines are not used often, the microbes living in the silt can attack the steel or cast pipe and produce "under-deposit pitting". Many plants are now aware that there are NDT inspection solutions for buried pipes such as fire-water lines. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has sponsored a series of conferences to discuss the problem and solutions ("BPIG" conferences).

Xcel's cast-iron pipeline was an 8" diameter, and we were able to inspect 50 to 100' on each side of the excavation shown. The pipeline was quite old, but was in surprisingly good condition with only a few deep pits detected. The PICA Team consisted of Paul Ryhanen and Chris Garrett, and an I-PIT technique was used. In spite of the congested, tight workspace (photo below), the job was a resounding success!