Project Synopsis

Provide a wide variety of operations support assistance to a national nuclear research facility.

Project Summary


As a follow-on project to several previous projects, the client contracted Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) to provide engineering support to Target Utility Systems, Accelerator Utility Systems, and Beam Line Instrument Utilities for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS).  The SNS is a neutron scattering research facility.  Design and engineering activities covered a wide range of systems to support continued facility operations, process improvements, and system upgrades.  Specific activities included the following:

  • Hydraulic and thermal simulations of both water and air cooling loops for the Accelerator using CHEMCAD licensed computer process simulation software.  The simulations allowed PROCESS to determine required equipment sizes for both new and upgraded systems including pumps, blowers, heat exchangers, filters, valves, pressure relief devices, and piping.  Additionally, hydraulic simulations were performed to evaluate proposed system changes and upgrades to determine the feasibility and the effect of the changes and predict the magnitude of improvement.
  • Development of Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) and Piping and Instrumentation Diagrams (P&IDs) for new and upgraded cooling loops, and as-built P&IDs for numerous Accelerator cooling loops.
  • Design of inert gas purge and relief systems for Instrument Beam Line enclosures involving stringent pressure requirements, including hydraulic simulation of piping systems using CHEMCAD to evaluate relief scenarios, P&ID, instrument sizing and selection, test procedure development, and on-site test and checkout support.
  • Development of purchase specifications for new equipment, vendor bid review, vendor selection, and vendor document review.
  • Development of test and checkout procedures for new systems, on-site test and checkout support, and development of operating procedures and alarm response procedures.
  • Complete process design for an ion-exchange based treatment system to remove impurities from heavy water for one of the Target cooling loops, including P&IDs; design, sizing, and optimization of heavy water processing equipment; equipment specification for procurement of the system including pumps, ion exchange columns, instrumentation, filters, valves, and pressure relief devices; equipment vendor bid reviews, vendor selection, and vendor document reviews; test and checkout procedure development for heavy water processing systems, on-site test and checkout support, and other operating procedure development.  The design and operation required strict adherence to material accountability practices, and research to develop deuterating and de-deuterating procedures.
  • Design and operating support for in-situ drying of technical components in three of the Target cooling loops to facilitate component change out, including design of vacuum pump, heat exchanger, heater, tank, and instruments used for drying; assistance with procurement and installation; red-lined drawings to show system modifications required to dry the loops; operating procedures to dry the loops; and on-site support during drying operations.
  • Troubleshooting and design analysis of a Target cooling loop serving numerous technical and beam line systems to determine upgrades required to meet the needs of proposed additional system loads, including determination of existing system configuration and loads; on-site support for taking flow and pressure measurements to characterize the system; development of a 5-year plan for system demand including required improvements and upgrades; development of system P&IDs; review of detailed piping drawings and development of hydraulic models using CHEMCAD to assess the impact of new users on the system; and design and on-site support for cleaning and flushing the system.
  • Extensive literature search of accelerator and commercial experience with water chemistry and corrosion in high purity water cooling loops containing copper components; analysis of operating data to assess water chemistry and copper corrosion issues related to the SNS; and assistance with development of recommendations for hardware and operating changes to control copper corrosion.

Industry Type

  • Nuclear Research Facilities

Utilized Skills

  • Operations engineering support

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