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A first-of-a-kind installation of a 3D-printed thimble plugging device has been performed at Exelon's Byron unit 1 during the plant's scheduled spring refuelling outage, Westinghouse has announced.
 
Additive manufacturing - or 3D printing - simplifies the manufacturing process by building a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer. Westinghouse Chief Technology Officer Ken Canavan says this enables the company to offer its customers enhanced component designs that improve performance and reduce costs, as well as to provide access to components that may not be available using traditional manufacturing methods.
 
Ken Petersen, Exelon Generation's vice president of nuclear fuels, described additive manufacturing is an exciting new solution for the nuclear industry. "The simplified approach helps meet the industry's need for a wide variety of low-volume, highly critical plant components," he said.
 
Westinghouse has been pursuing the use of powder bed fusion - an additive manufacturing technique that uses either a laser or electron beam to melt and fuse material powder together, layer by layer - "for applications including complex and next-generation components required for performance gains; obsolete and difficult-to-procure components; and unique components such as prototypes, mockups and tooling".
 
Article via World Nuclear News.
Floods have forced mandatory evacuations in parts of Fort McMurray, the hub for Canada’s oil sands industry, even as the province of Alberta tries to stem the spread of the coronavirus. The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray, ordered mandatory evacuations of some residents that began on Sunday and were expanded on Monday. Ice jams caused the Athabasca River to spill its banks.
 
Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland, said the federal government was looking “very urgently” at ways to help the area.
“The fact that flooding season and in due course, forest fire season, is coinciding with coronavirus in Canada is posing some special challenges,” Freeland said Monday in Ottawa.
 
The area, like most of Canada, is subject to restrictions on movement and most businesses are closed.
 
Wood Buffalo Mayor Don Scott described the situation as a “crisis” on social media, and he has asked for military help.
 
Alberta expected some crossover of the pandemic with floods and fires, and it and will ensure that evacuation centers reflect heightened standards for physical distancing and sanitation, said the province’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
 
Wood Buffalo’s food bank flooded and was forced to close, it said on Twitter. Many food banks have seen a spike in demand during the pandemic.
 
Coronavirus infections in Alberta have risen in recent days, due mainly to outbreaks further south. Alberta Health Services’ north zone, including Wood Buffalo, had 196 confirmed cases and 14 deaths as of Monday, according to the provincial ministry.
 
Karim Zariffa, executive director of the Oil Sands Community Alliance, whose members include oil-producing companies, said he was not aware of any flooding on their sites.
 
Some oil sands companies have deployed emergency personnel to help pump water out of flooded areas, he said.
 
Oil sands sites are running with fewer workers due to the pandemic, and many are reducing production amid low prices.
 
The region was forced to shut some sites in 2016 due to wildfires.
 
Article via EnergyNow.
Oilfield services companies in Alberta will be able to apply through an online portal starting May 1 for $1 billion in grants under the oilfield rehabilitation program announced by the federal government last week.
 
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage says the grant money will be doled out by her department in $100-million increments with an initial focus on service companies that have been most impacted by the current economic downturn.
 
She says the grants will cover between 25 and 100 per cent of project costs depending on the ability of the oil and gas company responsible for the site to help pay for cleanup, and will be paid directly to the oilfield service company completing the work.
 
Savage says about 5,300 jobs are expected to be created in Alberta, adding the government expects some of those jobs will begin during May.
The first $100 million is to be available for eligible work anywhere in the province with a cap of up to $30,000 per application. A second increment will focus on sites where the government is covering lease payments to landowners because the oil and gas company can’t or won’t meet its obligations.
The federal government announced a total of $1.7 billion to clean up wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as $750 million in loans to help cut methane emissions.
 
The world-wide coronavirus pandemic that’s caused oil demand to plummet has turned the Canadian oil patch’s biggest problem on its head. Rather than having too few oil pipelines, the province now has too many.The collapse in oil demand caused by people staying home has reduced U.S. demand for Canadian crude, leaving pipelines struggling to stay full. After more than a year of rationing space, Enbridge Inc. announced it had additional space on its Mainline pipeline system for both heavy and light crude in April. TC Energy Corp. also issued a call for crude on its Keystone pipeline running from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest.

At the same time, the lack of a price difference for crude from Canada makes it unprofitable to ship the country’s crude down pipelines to the U.S. Midwest and Gulf Coast. Heavy Western Canadian Select oil is trading at a $14.75 discount to West Texas Intermediate crude in Hardisty, Alberta. That’s compared with about $14.90 a barrel in Cushing, Oklahoma, as of Monday ,according to NE2 Group data.

The situation is a significant change from just a month or two ago when Canadian producers were struggling to get their oil to U.S. refineries as new pipelines, including the Trans Mountain expansion to the Pacific and Enbridge Line 3, met repeated delays. The situation grew so severe in late 2018 that the Alberta government imposed production curtailments that remain in place.


Article via EnergyNow.

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