Workers at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Toledo, Ohio have begun a $600 million steam generator replacement project.
Steam generator replacement projects are among the most expensive upgrades that a Pressurized Water Reactor receives. The licensee has been planning this upgrade for nearly a decade. Nearly $150 million of the $600 million budget will be spent on salaries for temporary workers alone.
The replacement steam generators which will be installed were built by Babcock and Wilcox Company based out of Canada, stand 74 feet long, 12 feet wide, and weigh 470 tons. They were designed in Cambridge, Ontario, and delivered to the site in October of 2013.
Steam generators act as heat exchangers and produce the steam used to spin the turbine generator which produces electricity.
While workers replace the steam generators, other workers will refuel a third of the 177 fuel assemblies in the reactor during the same outage.
The workers will cut open the Davis-Besse containment for the third time; the first two cuttings were related to swapping out reactor heads.