The nuclear power industry is faced with determining what to do with equipment and instrumentation reaching obsolescence and selecting the appropriate approach for upgrading the affected equipment. One of the systems in a nuclear power plant that has been a source of poor reliability in terms of replacement parts and control performance is the reactor recirculation pump speed/ flow control system for boiling water reactors (BWR). All of the operating BWR-3 and BWR-4’s use motor-generator sets, with a fluid coupled speed changer, to control the speed of the recirculation water pumps over the entire speed range of the pumps. These systems historically have had high maintenance costs, relative low efficiency, and relatively inaccurate speed control creating unwanted unit de-rates. BWR-5 and BWR-6 recirculation flow control schemes, which use flow control valves in conjunction with two-speed pumps, are also subject to upgrades for improved performance and reliability. These systems can be improved by installing solid-state adjustable speed drives (ASD), also known as variable frequency drives (VFD), in place of the motor-generator sets and the flow control valves. Several system configurations and ASD designs have been considered for optimal reliability and return on investment. This paper will discuss a highly reliable system and ASD design that is being developed for nuclear power plant reactor recirculation water pump controls. Design considerations discussed include ASD topology, controls architecture, accident, transient and hydraulic analyses, potential reactor internals modifications, installation, demolition and economic benefits.

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