Feedwater heaters are a tough application even in a conventional power plant. Because of the complicated control scheme and the cascading effects between heaters, the levels in the heaters tend to cycle, reducing their ability to effectively transfer heat to the feedwater and wearing out many of the components that surround them. This situation is made even worse in a typical nuclear plant where the control schemes are normally built on obsolete local pneumatic control platforms that do not have the flexibility to be tuned for optimum performance. This paper will present the basics of a step by step analysis of a feedwater heater system in a Boiling Water Nuclear Reactor that is aimed at optimizing the individual field devices in the system and then coupling them up to a state of the art control system. It will illustrate the importance of field device selection and setup, and demonstrate several new tools available that will insure that the system is operating at peak efficiency. The summary will detail the resulting improvements in process control and their impact on reducing operations and maintenance costs, while driving up overall efficiency in the plant.

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