Cooling water pipe systems are a critical part of a power generation plant. If the cooling water pipe fails, the whole plant may shut down. Due to its high tensile strength steel pipe has been used for cooling water pipe since the beginning of power generation. High density polyethylene (HDPE) has emerged as a reliable and sustainable replacement for steel pipe primarily due to its corrosion resistance. The Hazen-Williams C-factor of steel pipe decreases during the service period because of corrosion and buildup while HDPE pipe has a stable C-factor. The build up inside steel pipe reduces not only the C-factor but also the inside diameter. Steel pipe may fail in the ductile mode as a result of corrosion-related pipe strength reduction combined with the pressure surge related to the reduction of inside diameter. Ductile failure is not observed in the field for HDPE pipe. HDPE pipe is virtually maintenance-free while corrosion protection measures are used for steel pipe. HDPE pipe has advantage over metal pipe in total life cycle costs including material, installation, maintenance, and replacement costs. With these outstanding performance attributes, HDPE pipe has been used in power plants over the last 15 years to transport cooling water pipe for non-safety related applications. In November 2008, Ameren’s Callaway Nuclear Power Plant successfully completed the installation of a 36 HDPE cooling water pipe system; the first safety related HDPE water pipe in North America for the ASME category 3 cooling pipe application. This safety related PE 4710 cooling water pipe has delivered exceptional performance since its installation.

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