Innovation will be on display over the next month as Bruce Power begins a Vacuum Building inspection and maintenance program which occurs roughly every 10 years and will see all four units at Bruce B shut down.
This inspection and maintenance program is a great example of innovation at work at Bruce Power as we continue to explore new and better ways to ensure we are fully living up to our Number One value of Safety First,
said Brian O’Grady, Senior Vice President of Bruce B.
Two unmanned aerial vehicles will make their debut at Bruce Power to complete inspections of spray header hangers at the top of the vacuum building. The unmanned aerial vehicles, which resemble miniature helicopters, have an array of six propellers and a camera mounted below. The unmanned aerial vehicles will save an enormous amount of time and effort to erect and remove scaffolding that would otherwise be required to complete this inspection.
During the outage, divers will enter the dousing tank at the top of the structure, which contains more than 10,000 cubic metres of water, to inspect the tank. In some earlier vacuum building outages, the tank was drained prior to inspection which was both time-consuming and expensive.
An additional 300 temporary workers will be on site during the $30 million investment program which coincides with a $100 million investment and maintenance program which began on Unit 6 last week. Approximately 700 temporary workers are onsite working on Unit 6 which brings the number of temporary staff on site to more than 1,000.
The 45-metre high vacuum building is a concrete structure with walls approximately a metre thick and is a unique safety feature of CANDU reactors designed to protect the public, employees and the environment by preventing the release of radioactivity in the unlikely event of a large loss of reactor coolant.
During normal operation, the air inside the vacuum building is maintained at one-tenth atmospheric pressure by vacuum pumps in the upper and lower chambers. The vacuum building is separated from the station containment structure by an array of 18 large pressure relief valves which are connected to massive tubes at the base of the Vacuum Building. In the event of a loss of coolant, any radioactive steam would be travel into the vacuum building and be doused with water and contained.
About Bruce Power
Bruce Power operates the world’s largest operating nuclear generating facility and is the source of roughly 30 per cent of Ontario’s electricity. The company’s site in Tiverton, Ontario is home to eight CANDU reactors, each one capable of generating enough low-cost, reliable, safe and clean electricity to meet the annual needs of a city the size of Hamilton. Formed in 2001, Bruce Power is an all-Canadian partnership among Borealis Infrastructure Management (a division of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System), TransCanada, the Power Workers’ Union and the Society of Energy Professionals. A majority of Bruce Power’s employees are also owners in the business.
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