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HDPE Piping for Nuclear Applications

13th June

What is HDPE?

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum. It is used for piping in various industrial applications, including mining, marine, landfill, duct and agricultural applications.

HDPE has been tested and proven effective for above-ground, surface, buried, sliplined, floating and subsurface applications and can carry slurries, portable water, wastewater, chemicals, hazardous wastes and compressed gases.

The Benfits

HDPE offers the following benefits:

  • Can be used to fabricate almost any complex system
  • Live expectancy of 50 years at 20deg C and full pressure
  • Resistant to a significant range of chemicals
  • Pressure ratings effectively up to 16 bar
  • Total resistance to corrosion and erosion
  • High levels of assurance when welding by Butt Fusion
  • Eliminates the need for coatings or cathodic protection
  • Requires minimum maintenance
  • Excellent flow properties

Nuclear Applications

Traditionally, nuclear plants have relied on carbon steel pipework lined with Vylastic (Rubber / PVC) or Glass Flake - estimated to have a lifespan of up to 10 years.

However, experience has proved this now to be only 5 to 8 years as coatings and linings are easily corroded leading to reduced pipe bore, reduced efficiency and, in the worst case scenario, plant shut down.

Recognising the positive qualities of HDPE, Boulting, in partnership with EDF (British Energy), have developed the use HDPE as an alternative solution to for transporting water in the nuclear sector.

The uses of HDPE piping in the Nuclear applications:

  • Reactor Cooling System - feed and return to heat exchangers, Pumphouse, Strainer pits
  • Turbine Hall Auxiliary Cooling Water System
  • Drum Screen Wash Water
  • Dosing Systems
  • Puddle Pipe re-lining
  • New Puddle pipe installation
  • Town's Water

Working closely with partners, Boulting offer a full turnkey package for the design, fabrication, supply and installation of fully approved, seismically qualified HDPE piping.

"The use of HDPE produces a 30% reduction in capex cost. The reduction in Opex is significant as the continuous replacement of carbon steel pipes is no longer required."

For more information on the use of HDPE and the services supplied by our nuclear team download our new HDPE piping brochure:

HDPE piping brochure


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