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Westinghouse Installs 3D-Printed Fuel Component inside Commercial Nuclear Reactor

Power News - Published on Wed, 20 May 2020

Image Source: Westinghouse 3D-Printed
Westinghouse Electric Company announced that a 3D-printed thimble plugging device was successfully installed in Exelon’s Byron Unit 1 nuclear plant during their spring refueling outage. It is a first-of-a-kind installation for the nuclear industry. Westinghouse’s chief technology officer Ken Canavan said “Westinghouse continues to lead the way with development of the most advanced technologies to help the world meet growing electricity demand with safe, clean and reliable energy. Our additive manufacturing program offers customers enhanced component designs that help increase performance and reduce costs, as well as provide access to components that may not be available using traditional manufacturing methods.”

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is an innovative technique that simplifies the manufacturing process by going directly from 3D model to an actual part. Additive manufacturing reduces cost, improves quality and design flexibility, and eliminates conventional manufacturing limitations. Powder bed fusion is an additive manufacturing technique that uses either a laser or electron beam to melt and fuse material powder together, layer by layer.

The laser or electron beam is aimed automatically at points in space (cross-sections) defined by a 3D model, fusing the material together to create a solid structure. After each cross-section is scanned the powder bed is lowered by one layer thickness, a new layer of powder material is applied on top, and the process is repeated until the part is completed.

Hot wire laser welding utilizes a beam of coherent laser light that adds heat via conduction to achieve melting at the fusion point. The result is a superior level of welding precision and significantly higher production rates not achievable with conventional arc-based welding. This welding technology is being developed as a direct replacement for arc welding in fabrication, production and repair applications.

In cold spray deposition, the powder particles of the coating material are propelled at supersonic velocities onto the surface of the substrate. This allows intimate contact between the exposed metal surfaces under high local pressure, permitting bonding to occur and thick layers of deposited material to be built up rapidly. In contrast to traditional thermal spray methods, cold spray produces coatings with low porosity and oxygen content, helping to limit potential thermal degradation and oxidation.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Wed, 20 May 2020
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