China Nuclear Power Engineering Co, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN), has been honored with the 2017 Technology Transfer Award by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
It was CGN’s first time to win the award, which is given annually to EPRI members who have made efforts to apply R&D on behalf of their companies and the industry at large. A total of 12 nuclear power technology achievements in advanced nuclear technology (ANT) were presented with the award this year.
The only Chinese awardee, CGN was recognized for its breakthrough in technology transfer and application of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum.
HDPE is preferred in nuclear power projects over metal tubes, being more durable, corrosion resistant, easy to install, and with good flow characteristics. HDPE pipes have been applied in overseas nuclear power plants for tests and performed well.
The project team, consisting of technicians from CGN’s two subsidiaries, China Nuclear Power Engineering Co and Daya Bay Nuclear Power Operations and Management Co, focused research on the application and localization of nuclear-level HDPE pipes after communicating with EPRI experts and reviewing surveys on the application requirements of anti-corrosion in sea water among domestic nuclear power plants and the domestic production of HDPE pipes.
The two companies worked together on a renovation project in Daya Bay Nuclear Power Plant, replacing metal pipes with HDPE ones to improve corrosion resistance in seawater. Approved by the National Nuclear Safety Administration in April 2017, the project was finished on schedule and now runs well, with the technicians having overcome a number of difficulties.
The project serves as a model for HDPE’s application in nuclear power stations at sea. The achievement is expected to bring both safety and economic benefits, enabling each nuclear power unit to save maintenance costs in nuclear-grade seawater system of over 100 million yuan ($15.8 million). For CGN, which has 20 units in operation, it will help the company reduce costs by at least a few billions yuan.
Meanwhile, during the research, CGN successfully applied for launching an R&D and test platform and an engineering center of non-metal materials for nuclear power plants in Shanghai. It was also approved by the National Energy Administration to work on the application standards of HDPE at level three of nuclear safety classification.
CGN has also partnered with a nuclear new-material company on HDPE products, leading to its being awarded 13 patents. The products have passed the sci-tech evaluation of the China Nuclear Energy Association.
As an independent and nonprofit organization, EPRI focuses on electricity generation, delivery, and use in collaboration with the electricity sector, its stakeholders and others. Its goal is to enhance quality of life by making electric power safe, reliable, affordable, and environmentally responsible.