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Chicago Bridge and Iron Company utilizes General Rubber’s in-line pressure balanced and other conventional rubber expansion joint designs for their EPC contract at the Plant Vogtle nuclear generating station. General Rubber Corporation (GRC) understands the importance of providing customers with innovative solutions, particularly with demanding applications on high-profile projects.

CHALLENGE

One challenging element of this project was to develop 36-inch and 108-inch diameter rubber expansion joints in an in-line pressure balanced configuration. This configuration was needed to minimize the loads on sensitive piping and equipment within the plant.

SOLUTION

GRC’s in-line pressure balanced design offered the highest performance based on its one-piece rubber construction, as opposed to three separate rubber expansion joints commonly used by other manufacturers. 

When Chicago Bridge and Iron was selecting an expansion joint manufacturer for their EPC contracts at the Plant Vogtle, Units 3 and 4, they appreciated that GRC had an effective in-line pressure balanced design that would meet their requirements. They were satisfied as well to recognize that GRC has over sixty years of expansion joint experience, and are also the original equipment suppliers in nearly half of the nuclear plants in the United States, as well as many others overseas. Considering there has not been a new commercial nuclear power plant built in the United States in over thirty years, all aspects of these four Westinghouse AP1000 units required the highest level of quality and design assurance. 

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

During the design phase, GRC manufactured prototype samples and performed finite element analysis to provide CB&I with further assurance that our in-line design would exceed expectations. Manufacturing nearly fifty 120-inch diameter expansion joints was another challenging element of this project; however, with GRC’s extensive experience we knew we had the capability and capacity to do the job. GRC was awarded the contract to supply the balance of plant consisting of hundreds of our 1100 Series rubber expansion joints, ranging from 3-inch to 120-inch diameter in both single and multiple arch designs, which required over twelve flatbed trucks for delivery of the site’s shipment.

General Rubber Corporation prides itself on providing powerful solutions for difficult design problems, allowing our expansion joint designs to range from the simple to the simply amazing.

PLANT VOGTLE: A CLOSER LOOK

Commonly referred to by locals simply as “Plant Vogtle,” the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant serves as a four-unit nuclear power plant in Burke County, Georgia. The first two units were completed in the late 1980s and each consisted of a Westinghouse pressurized water reactor (PWR), with a General Electric steam turbine and electric generator.

Units 3 and 4 each utilize Westinghouse AP1000 reactors and natural-draft type cooling towers, each nearly 600 feet tall. With the addition of Units 3 and 4, Plant Vogtle is now the nation’s largest nuclear power station and produces the most annual net power of any power plant, of any fuel type, in the United States.


FOR MORE INFORMATION

Lloyd Aanonsen, P.E., is General Rubber’s president. General Rubber Corporation is committed to being a leader in the design and manufacture of rubber expansion joints, providing engineered solutions, superior customer service, and competitive prices. General Rubber is both ISO 9001 and 14001 certified and has differentiated itself as a leader in the industry. The company leverages its state-of-the-art United States manufacturing facility to lower operating costs while respecting the environment. General Rubber Corporation is committed to providing quality, defect-free products. Its employees are expected to adhere to the spirit and intent of meeting and exceeding its customers’ requirements and to embrace a culture of continuous improvement. For more information, visit www.general-rubber.com.


MODERN PUMPING TODAY, March 2019
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