31 Aug 2017

How rental power and cooling can cut the cost of nuclear decommissioning

Chiller hire at nuclear plant
  • Written By

    Marcus Saul, Business Development Manager

  • Published in

How rental power and cooling can cut the cost of nuclear decommissioning

Mobile, modular power generation used during the decommissioning of nuclear power plants can save money, as well as avoid capital expenditure and possible penalties. Marcus Saul, Business Development Manager for Marine, Renewables & Nuclear, at Aggreko explains more.

Financial incentives

Nuclear decommissioners can tap into some generous financial incentives to offset the cost of power generation equipment hire.

These incentives include demand side response (DSR), such as the Capital Market and Short Time Operating Reserve (STOR), that make ramping power up and down according to demand well worth considering, not least as it helps avoid ‘red band’ premium rate periods, such as Triads.

Pay only for power consumed

Operating modular generators in off-grid 'island mode' can support work to dismantle the nuclear plant. As they are configured to instantly respond to network capacity requirements or market signals for more or less power, they can also save operators significant operational and maintenance costs.

That’s because the network charges for access to the power grid are based on overall capacity rather than actual demand. Demand reduces as decommissioning progresses so adopting mobile power for the remaining processes means they pay only for the power they consume.

Capital expenditure avoidance

Avoiding capital expenditure by using rental power, especially when costs can be offset or limited, can also help ease the transition from the operation to decommissioning phase. Rental power is also flexible as it can be directed to where it’s needed around the site with specialist transformers being used to adjust voltage to accommodate changing power demand.

Failsafe power

Rental power can also improve security of supply via professional monitoring, maintenance and servicing, to ensure equipment is working at peak efficiency - to meet the rigorous failsafe demands of the nuclear industry. Customers can also benefit from continuous equipment upgrades as technology advances over the long duration of decommissioning projects.

Controlling temperature

It's also vital to have a robust temperature control strategy for decommissioning. Interim cooling, dehumidification and heating equipment can keep reactors and other assets ambient. It is essential to ensure that no moisture gets into parts, such as rotary turbines, which must be preserved in perfect condition, especially where they are intended for resale.

Existing cooling equipment can thus be downsized as decommissioning progresses, which can have a dramatic impact on power demand and cost.

The ability to include temporary temperature control throughout the decommissioning lifecycle can assist in minimising capital expenditure, from the cooling and dehumidification of the reactor vessel and pipes, to the downsizing of pumps and heat exchangers to provide increased efficiencies.