Challenge: How to Improve Efficiency of a Nuclear Power Plant

Bruce Power operates the world’s largest nuclear generating facility and provides Ontario, Canada with roughly 30% of its electricity. The company’s site in Tiverton, Ontario is home to eight CANDU reactors—each capable of producing up to 800MW. With the nuclear power industry struggling to balance rapidly-increasing demand with the costs and safety measures required to support an aging equipment base – causing improvements in nuclear power efficiency to be imperative. Bruce Power identified its scheduled maintenance activities as a source for efficiency gains—enabling increased availability. Specifically, the company had more scheduled maintenance activities than capacity, resulting in delays.  

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Solution: Using APM to increase the Efficiency of Nuclear Power Plants

Bruce Power was able to identify and implement, on a continuous basis, maintenance-related work process improvements through Asset Performance Management (APM) (formerly Meridium Enterprise APM) to increase availability without sacrificing nuclear power plant safety. Using Predix APM, Bruce Power utilized a risk-based approach to determine optimal maintenance intervals for its assets.

By implementing APM, Bruce Power was able to integrate:

  • Historical asset health data (mean time between failure, Pareto, and failure analyses)
  • Maintenance performance data (inspection, calibration, test results)
  • Current asset health data (operator rounds, condition-based monitoring)

The company was also able to identify maintenance inefficiencies and readjust its maintenance strategy based on efficiency gains and further reduce the costs of their nuclear power plant operation.

Results: Improved Efficiency

In using the improved nuclear power technology with APM, Bruce Power was able to continually identify opportunities for maintenance-related work-process improvements with it was able to:

  • Increase the life of existing assets
  • IImprove plant reliability and availability
  • IIncrease the amount of power pumped into the grid

In 2014, the company invested over $200 million of private dollars into publicly-owned reactors during three planned maintenance outages. These maintenance investment programs helped increase reliability and extend the life of Bruce Power’s units. And as a result of one of its units surpassing 500 days of continuous operation—and providing over 15% of Ontario’s electricity—Bruce Power was recognized as the top performing multi-unit CANDU plant in the world by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators. 

Learn how to increase the efficiency of nuclear power plants and other thermal power plants with APM

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