Even though McGuire Nuclear Power Plant is located on the shores of Lake Norman, it relies on cooling water from a separate service water pond. Duke Energy, operators of the plant, wanted to investigate the conditions of the service pipeline that connects the service pond to the plant. They elected to use a robotic underwater vehicle attached to a tether. However, because the service water line connecting the pond to the plant is an important safety function, the retraction tension on the robotic underwater vehicle needed to be validated before the vehicle was deployed using a mock-up test.
Mock-up testing would determine if the tether would remain within the tether failure tension after the vehicle has advanced past several turns and more than several hundred feet into the pipeline. The main sources of tension on the tether are the turns in the pipeline.
Alden worked with Hibbard Inshore to set up a model of the pipeline bends with limited straight pipe lengths between them to correctly simulate the tether friction during a retraction. In addition, the mock-up test demonstrated to the plant the ability to identify various pipeline characteristics of interest that could be encountered during the real inspection. The mock-up also provided a similar level of water visibility to ensure the rover inspection would still be successful under turbid water conditions.
Contact us for more information on mock-up testing.