SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – A highlight of the late April scheduled outage of Unit 2 at the Byron Nuclear Generating Station in Ogle County, Illinois was the noteworthy 38-minute complete and accurate mapping of all 193 fuel nozzles using a NM200E Core Verification System by Newton Labs. The NM200E system is the Exelon-approved primary method for determining nozzle position in their PWRs and has been deployed in a number plants of other utilities in the U.S. and France.
The routine and rapid fuel mapping by the NM200E system is in contrast to the considerably longer and less accurate legacy video micrometer procedure still in use at many plants. The system, developed and manufactured by Newton Labs, a Seattle, Washington-area mechanical engineering firm, enables the precise global mapping of fuel assemblies, including any degree of misalignment or nozzle rotation. The accuracy of the NM200E system is derived from sophisticated, Newton-developed algorithms that compensate for the visually distorting thermal turbulence and use the core baffles as positional references. The NM200E software determines the positions of Westinghouse and AREVA PWR fuel assemblies based in part upon S-hole positions, and it is also able to map the more symmetrical Babcock and Wilcox nozzles.
An important factor in the short Byron mapping time, beyond the system’s rapid data processing capability, was the coordination of the refuel team and the skill of the bridge operator to quickly and accurately execute the required 38 separate camera moves using manual controls. It was the application of the NM200E technology that enabled Exelon Nuclear to wins the Nuclear Energy Institute's 2012 Top Industry Practice (TIP) Award in the Maintenance Category for “PWR Fuel Alignment Mapping System.”
About Newton Labs
Seattle based Newton Labs is a privately held manufacturer of machine vision, robotics and optical automation. A spin-off of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ( MIT), the company has for more than 20 years developed and marketed high-performance, computer-driven automation for industrial processes. Newton’s products are designed to allow the quality, efficiency and cost effectiveness of computer technology to replace the human element in virtually every industry. Newton Labs has deployed more than 20,000 machine vision, robotic and automation systems worldwide. Additional information about Newton and its products may be found at www.newtonlabs.com.