Friday, October 30, 2015

Advanced Test Reactor modifications receive recognition

For the second year in a row, Idaho National Laboratory has received recognition from industry peers for completion of a major engineering or construction modification.

The INL's Advanced Test Reactor dates back to the mid-1960s. Frequently upgraded, it remains the nation's leading nuclear energy research reactor.
The Advanced Test Reactor Transition to Commercial Power modification has been chosen by Engineering News-Record as the first-place winner in the energy-industrial category of its 2015 Best Projects competition. This includes new projects, or the renovations or modifications of existing facilities in the Mountain states.

The work demonstrated the successful collaboration of a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory with a manufacturer to design, fabricate, test and install a custom-built uninterruptible power supply that meets stringent U.S. nuclear safety and quality assurance requirements. This modification resulted in improved operational safety and reliability, significant carbon emission reductions, and major operating cost savings for the ATR, America’s leading nuclear energy research reactor.

In place of a system that required continuous operation of diesel generators, INL can expect an annual savings of $550,000 by using commercial electrical power and an energy-efficient, redundant battery system while the reactor is operating. Diesel generators are still in place and ready to operate as a backup source of power.

Ending continuous operation of the diesel generators significantly reduces the carbon footprint of INL. Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of 225,000 gallons of diesel fuel provides a net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 892 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually. This corresponds to a 100 percent reduction of process-related stationary combustion emissions for the ATR area, and a 28 percent reduction of overall INL stationary combustion emissions.

A panel of eight judges, including architects, general contractors, consultants, academics and engineers, selected winners in the 2015 Intermountain Area Best Projects competition. The ATR modifications are profiled in the October issue of ENR Mountain States.