Big maintenance at High Flux Isotope Reactor


ORNL photo

The High Flux Isotope Reactor returned to operation last week following a 38-day outage for refueling and maintenance, one of the longest of the year. According to Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s reactor chief, Tim Powers, it was a productive outage and “very busy.”

Workers installed a third digital instrument that monitors the neutron power level in the reactor core; replaced cables that supply power to the Cooling Tower Fans; and performed surveillance tests and inspections on a number of systems, including emergency power supply, ventilation filtration and reactor protection.

Preventive maintenance work was conducted on pressurizer pumps and flow-control valves; primary water cleanup pumps; and the helium refrigerator for the Cold Source (a task that’s required after every 5,000 hours of operation).

HFIR returned to operation on Oct. 7. The current operating cycle is due to end on Oct. 31, with an 18-day period for refueling and maintenance.

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.