Visiting EPRI Innovators
Steve Mitnick is President of Lines Up, Inc., Editor-in-Chief of Public Utilities Fortnightly, author of “Lines Down: How We Pay, Use, Value Grid Electricity Amid the Storm.
Lori Burkhart is managing editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly.
You might feel like you were with PUF editors during a special tour of one of the world's top energy labs, at EPRI's sprawling campus in Charlotte.
PUF: This is the wall for a pressurized water reactor?
Paul Weeks: Yes. This is an outlet nozzle. It's a very heavy piece, and we have to have specialized equipment to pick it up.
PUF: Right, because the wall is very thick. And the boiling water reactor is over here?
Paul Weeks: Yes. This is a real reactor vessel. This came from, River Bend, I believe, because they didn't finish the second unit. So, it was stopped, and EPRI has been able to work with many of the utilities where they stopped construction.
PUF: So, you got this off of eBay?
Paul Weeks: Yes. We paid a dollar for it, and cut up these pieces, and we use these for testing. Then we had flaws implanted in them.
PUF: How do you do that?
Paul Weeks: I don't even know. The companies that do it for us use proprietary methods.
There's a lot that goes into making a good weld bad, and making it look like a real flaw in the field.