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Protecting nuclear power plants against corrosion

Specialty coatings are well worth their while – especially in safety-critical areas

High-tech coatings are also used to protect nuclear power stations, a very sensitive area, against erosion and corrosion – as can be seen in France. With 58 nuclear power stations connected to the grid, the Grande Nation has the largest number of operational power plants of this kind in Europe. Many of these plants have been relying on XERVON Plastocor’s expertise in the field of specialty coatings for decades now. This company, a division belonging to XERVON Oberflächentechnik GmbH, specialises in applying coatings using the 2-component material, Plastocor® – a product that is not only extremely durable, it can also be used for a whole range of different applications. Three recent projects have demonstrated just how flexible it is: as a water-resistant protective coat, as a duplex system and for inlets.

Three areas of application, three processes

Companies performing maintenance work at nuclear power stations are expected and required to deliver a reliable service and the highest safety standards. This is also true for coating services. What the plants need here are solutions that excel in two main areas – i.e. solutions that guarantee that the people doing the work have the necessary in-depth expertise and that the coating system applied is of the highest quality. In a number of its latest projects, XERVON Plastocor was responsible for both applying the high-tech coating using special equipment as well as for all jet blasting work and auxiliary tasks that were required.

These projects focused on a whole variety of plant parts, from water boxes, to tube sheets, all the way through to pipe inlets. In one of the French nuclear power plants, for example, the team had to coat six dismantled water boxes, each 48 square metres in size. XERVON Plastocor used the Plastocor® 400 system for this task, which is particularly suitable for damp environments. Specially developed for surfaces located under water, this material possesses all the properties needed to protect condenser water boxes and other heat exchangers, even those facing extreme conditions. Moreover, the manway was also reinforced with glass fibre fabric.

At another power plant, the team were called in to protect the surfaces of three 20-square-metre tube sheets. The Plastocor® 2000 system was applied here. With the coats being up to 5 millimetres thick, this system is particularly useful for treating surfaces that are showing signs of wear and tear and offers a low-cost alternative to replacing the tubes, thus avoiding the need to carry out the time-consuming drilling work. Besides coating the tube sheets, XERVON Plastocor also sealed the joints with a specialty application.

Whether it be a protective coat, a duplex system or for inlets: Plastocor® provides long-term protection against the effects of cooling water, industrial water, oil and compressed air

The third project saw the coating experts working with the Inlet system – an efficient and cost-effective way to extend the operating life of pipe inlets. Around 58,000 inlets were treated in lengths of 500 millimetres on four of the main condenser’s lines so that these pipe sections, which are particularly prone to wear and tear, did not have to be replaced.

Plastocor® is in high demand in many other industries, in particular chemicals and petrochemicals, besides the energy sector. XERVON Plastocor, which offers its services all around the world, is the only German company that is able to apply these high-tech coating systems and carry out all the jet blasting work and auxiliary tasks required as well.

REMONDIS Maintenance & Services GmbH & Co. KG