Engineers were excited by
the prospect of nuclear power
when this article was first
published in 1958.
Before the first commercial nuclear power plant
in the United States could begin operation, the
facility was thoroughly inspected.
E.M. Parrish, Duquesne Light Company, Pittsburgh, Pa.
The details of testing are best shown by a description of the reactor component cooling-water system test, since many conventional stations are provided with a similar system.
As is the case with all of the systems tests, this test was performed to prove
the integrity of the entire system and to test the individual components in
order to assure that the operation was as designed. The test of this system
was divided into four sections, each section intended to cover one phase of the
In the first section, the expansion tank, component cooling-water pumps,
cooler, and supply and return headers were completely filled with water and
hydrostatically tested, using a hand pump. At the same time, the pressure
was increased in order to test and set the relief valves. The level indicator and
alarms on the expansion tank were tested and adjusted as necessary to provide
for satisfactory operation.
In the second section of the test, a corrosion inhibitor was added to and
thoroughly mixed with the system water. Following the initial addition of this
inhibitor, the concentration was determined weekly for a 2-month period. Any
change in the concentration of this inhibitor indicated a plating action, and the
concentration was then reestablished by the addition of inhibitor to the system.
As each of the components in this system was installed, the piping loop
from the supply header through the component to the return header was filled
and hydrostatically tested as a part of the third section of the test. Included
with the hydrostatic test was a test of any relief valves in the loop. Also, as
a part of this section, the instrumentation and controls were observed for
satisfactory operation, performance tests were made of the component cooling
water pumps, and when all the individual cooling loops through the various
components were complete, the flow through the individual components was
adjusted to a predetermined value by setting the flow-control valves in all loops.
In the fourth and final section of the test, the cooling water conditions
for each component served by the system, operating under normal plant
conditions, were determined. During this section of the test the entire system
was observed as a single unit and a heat balance obtained for the cooler.
The completion of these four sections of this one test established the
satisfactory operation of the system. In a conventional power station by way of
comparison, many of the same tests are made but on a less formalized basis.
Normally, in the conventional power station, the system would be placed in
service initially by the operators who would observe, generally, the cooling
water flow, temperatures, and pressures, and would assure themselves that
the system is operating satisfactorily. In most cases, no further test would be
conducted unless there was some evidence of system malfunction. ME
The now-ubiquitous plastic toy brick
was first developed in post-World War II
Denmark by the Lego Company. The initial
toy set, called “automatic binding bricks,”
were not wholly original: stacking wooden
blocks had been around for some time, and
the Lego brick system was based on an
earlier English toy design. The first Lego
bricks were made from cellulose acetate,
a material that didn’t lend itself to locking
together. After years of looking for a better
material, Lego hit upon the use of a tough,
impact-resistant polymer called acrylonitrile
butadiene styrene, and the new Lego system
was patented in January 1958. Today, Lego
has branched out into many types of toys,
including programmable robots.
A 1950s Legos box depicts the varied
objects children could build with the
standardized bricks. Image: Lego
TECH BUZZ // VAULT MARCH 1958