In today’s economic environment, larger capital investments by power plants, especially nuclear plants, are tending towards shorter project lead times; and at the same time with an emphasis on improved performance and future reliability. These ideas are generally not synonymous with cost effectiveness. Often it is very beneficial that the engineering phase for this equipment be flexible such that the needs of the end user, engineer, and equipment vendor are met in a cooperative fashion.
The recent power uprate scope of supply at NextEra Energies Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant was modified about 36 weeks before the outage start date to include large replacement condensate coolers for each unit with the Unit 2 exchanger delivery being critical. This left a small window in which to generate a specification, purchase, and produce the first of two 14,500 ft2 heat exchangers. The project had many design challenges that needed to be addressed including the installation, size limitations, nozzle locations, nuclear plant quality requirements and consideration of lake/sea grass (string from algae) fouling, zebra/quagga mussel fouling, and alewife (small fish) pluggage concerns in order to bring the project to a successful conclusion. These issues needed the combined strengths of the Engineer, End User, and Fabricator working quickly and making timely decisions to bring the total project to the most cost effective and successful conclusion.