Progress Energy Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant-Mega Shut Down

Beta Max brings power to the people

Progress Energy is embarking on a 300 million dollar overhaul of the Crystal River nuclear power plant in Central Florida-one of the most ambitious outages in U.S. history-and they have turned to Beta Max Hoists to see the project done safely and efficiently.

Nuclear power plants typically refuel every two years, forcing the reactor to shut down. But there is nothing typical about the Crystal River shut down-this is major surgery. And as with any operation of this size, scope and delicacy, only the best materials and service providers are employed.

Key to the success of the outage is access to upper level areas. Progress Energy called on Beta Max Hoists to overcome the challenge of delivering men and materials into these high spaces, where vital work was to be performed.

Workers will have to tackle a number of intensive, daunting tasks, including sawing through concrete slabs, carving through steel plates and cutting re-bar as thick as a policeman's flashlight. A steam generator, with its 15,000 tubes, will be extracted and replaced, better electronics will be installed throughout the facility, and high efficiency turbine blades will be put to work.

One task in particular, though, was perfectly suited to the breadth of the Beta Max offering. Access was needed to an upper level that allowed only minimal space for any type of construction elevator. The area in question was a small space between a cooling containment building and pump house.

Among the Beta Max suite of products-which include everything from high speed wire rope hoists to material hoists to permanent elevators-is the Max Climber 2000PMB. A rack and pinion personnel hoist, the Max Climber's footprint is among the smallest currently available in a construction elevator.

Most temporary construction elevator providers rely on a standard 6000 lb/35 passenger capacity unit.

These units have much larger cabins, measuring 13 ft. x 5 ft. or more. In contrast, the Max Climber has a capacity of 2000 lbs/7 passengers, and measures 6.5 ft. x 4 ft-the perfect size to slip the workers into the high tight space between containment building and pump house.

Not only is the Max Climber 2000PMB the perfect size, it also incorporates all the safety features found in larger construction elevators, including fully interlocked doors and landings, an emergency over-speed brake and a landing call box.

But this particular challenge required more than the right size and safety. To accommodate the specific placement required by Progress Energy, Beta Max modified the unit to allow cabin access using either door depending on where the workers and loads were needed.

Once restarted, the Crystal River Plant will produce more power and have its lifespan extended by decades. With the Beta Max 2000PMB contributing to the project's completion, the plant will increase production from 838 megawatts to 1018 megawatts and will deliver more power to 110,000 additional homes every day.

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