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ECA Group supplies nuclear filter changing machines to EDF for its plant in Flamanville

Friday, April 20 2018
ECA Group successfully completed the Site Acceptance Tests and installation of a remotely operated Filter Changing Machine for EDF's new nuclear plant in Flamanville.
As part of the construction work of the nuclear Plant Flamanville (FA3) in France, EDF entrusted ECA Group to provide engineering/calculation, material sourcing, manufacturing, transport, final assembly on-site, all construction and quality checks as well as the final documentation for the remoted replacement of all effluent filters in the treatment building

The pool water treatment systems in nuclear power plants are equipped with special filters which need to be replaced once certain radiation limit values have been reached. For protection against radiation, a remotely controlled shielded filter replacement apparatus is used for replacing filters.

To perform such a mission, ECA Group developed and provided a remotely operated filter changing machine (FCM) for the replacement of these filters. Being remotely operated, the machine replaces and transports contaminated filters for processing while protecting the personnel from radiation exposure and contamination. This solution successfully passed the Site Acceptance Tests (SAT) and was installed inside the nuclear plant, which is expected to be fully operational before the end of 2018.

ECA Group was selected by EDF for its ability to design innovative robotic solutions able to answer to very specific and tailor-made technical requirement, as well as its cost-effectiveness.

About Remotely operated filter changing machine

ECA Group has designed and manufactured special device dedicated to nuclear installations for remotely replacement of filters inside the effluent treatment building. The Remotely operated filter changing machine 

allows to set up a new filter and to transport contaminated filter for waste processing while insuring the safety of the personnel from radiation exposure and contamination

The machine positions itself above the filter to be replaced.

  • One mast handles to remove the cartridge shield cover.
  • The second mast removes the spent filter.
  • The third mast deposits the new filter
  • The first mast secures the cartridge shield cover.

In its end position, the filter replacement unit places the spent fuel cartridges in a drum shield for further transport to the waste treatment plant for processing. All functions such as positioning, rotation, lifting, lowering, including the opening and closing of the shield cover are remotely controlled by the FCM control system, thus eliminating the need for any additional operating equipment and minimizing the operator’s exposure to radiation.

The machine is specifically designed to ensure full containment throughout each phase of the filter replacement process. 

About EPR Flamanville 3 nuclear Plant

Following an initial preparatory phase involving earthworks and excavation in 2006, the construction work on the EPR nuclear plant began in December 2007. The plant is due to be fully operational in 2018. It will be the first in the series of a new generation of nuclear reactors. EPR reactors are being built in France to invest in new generation capacity in order to secure electricity supply.

It marks an essential step in the process of replenishing EDF's nuclear fleet. The EPR will incorporate all the recent technological advances in the areas of nuclear safety, environmental protection, technical performance and economic efficiency, delivering safe and competitive power without emitting greenhouse gases.

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remotely operated filter changing machine (FCM)ECA Group's  remotely operated filter changing machine - Photo courtesy by EDF

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