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Feedwater Heater Removal and Replacement

A nuclear power plant client in Georgia needed to remove and replace its Alpha and Bravo 8th Stage Feedwater Heaters that were located in the basement of a turbine generator building. Although hidden in this picture, the circles represented the heater’s location on the 112-foot elevation floor level. The area was congested with columns, piping, conduit, and drains. The heaters would need to travel in the direction of the arrow in order to be lifted up through the equipment hatch opening to the 164-foot elevation turbine deck. There, they would need to be tipped at an angle to clear the hatch opening. This angle could not exceed 69 degrees due to OEM warranty restrictions.

Due to the complexity of the project, the client required a test mockup lift of Barnhart’s solution featuring the custom designed 150-ton Tipstick with a moveable lifting point.The mockup was performed at the Port of Memphis utilizing Barnhart’s 1,250-ton derrick crane. A concrete-filled vessel with additional counterweight weighing 125% of the load weight served as a suitable component for the functional/load test of the Tipstick. Then a 70’ scaffolding structure was erected to replicate the hatch opening. Using the actual replacement Feedwater Heater, Barnhart successfully executed the mockup lift through the hatch opening.

Once the critical lift method was confirmed, the crew got started at the site. Barnhart crews used 50-ton jacks to raise each heater to install a 100T Lite Slide Track System. The heaters were skidded about four feet and jacked up to transition from the slide track to the powered saddle rollers equipped with custom bolster plates for transport to the equipment hatch. Then the heaters were lifted through the floor opening of the equipment hatch to the turbine deck. Inclinometers were monitored closely to confirm that the tipping angles did not exceed 69 degrees.

The heaters were leveled back to a horizontal position and the overhead crane transported each one to the truck bay opening and lowered them to a Goldhofer trailer. The larger replacement heaters were installed in reverse order. Barnhart was recognized for their work on this complex project with the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) Rigging Job of the Year $750,000 to $2 million.