NWT Corporation Serving our clients since 1974

BWR Operational Chemistry:
Problem Assessment and Diagnosis


The BWR Operational Chemistry course was developed by NWT to assist plant and corporate chemistry personnel in the following areas:

  1. Identifying the presence of, or trends toward, abnormal chemistry conditions.
  2. Diagnosing problem causes.
  3. Developing timely and cost effective corrective actions.

This course has been developed by senior NWT personnel who have been involved in BWR and PWR water chemistry, corrosion, water treatment, and activity transport control for 20 or more years. Their experience base has been complemented by consideration of the underlying chemistry and engineering principles in each area of instruction. Because of the nature of the course, senior NWT personnel provide all instruction (see resumes).

The course is intended for BWR chemistry personnel involved in data review, problem identification and diagnosis, and development of corrective actions.


I. BWR Chemistry Overview

    A. Introduction to BWR Chemistry

    B. Plant Systems

    C. Specifications/Guidelines

II. Physical Chemistry Considerations

    A. Equilibria

        1. Ionic

        2. Vapor/Liquid

    B. Conductivity Interpretation

    C. Gas Solubility

III. Ion Exchange Fundamentals and       Applications

    A. Resin Selectivity, Capacity, and

    B. Reactor Water Cleanup

        1. Design and Operation

        2. Performance and Monitoring

    C. Condensate Treatment

        1. Design and Operation

        2. Performance and Monitoring

    D. Makeup Water Treatment

IV. Ionic Impurity Transport

    A. Mass Balance Relationships

        1. Makeup Water Input

        2. Radwaste Recycle

        3. Condenser Leakage

    B. Air and Cooling Water Inleakage

        1. Condenser Leak Detection

            a) Chemistry Monitoring

            b) Helium and SF6

        2. Air Inleakage

            a) Leak Location

            b) Offgas System Impact

    C. Ionic Source Control

V. Corrosion Product Transport

    A. General Corrosion

        1. Effects of Oxygen, Flow Rate, and

        2. Relation to Fuel Deposits and             Activity Buildup

        3. Approach to Minimization during             Operation and Shutdown

    B. Corrosion Product Sampling

    C. Corrosion Product Transport

        1. Condensate/Feedwater

        2. Reactor/RWCU System

    D. Iron Addition

VI. Reactor Coolant Chemistry       Considerations

    A. Stress Corrosion Cracking (IGSCC)

        1. Mechanism

        2. Effect of Oxygen, Impurities and

        3. Approach to Minimization

            a) Impurity Control

            b) Metallurgy

            c) Hydrogen Water Chemistry

            d) Noble Metal Addition

    B. Fuel Performance

        1. Zircaloy Corrosion

        2. Localized Corrosion

        3. Radiation Field Buildup

VII. Radiolysis Effects

    A. BWR Radiation Chemistry

        1. Normal Water Chemistry

            a) Hydrogen, Oxygen and  Peroxide

            b) N-13/N-16 Chemistry

            c) Offgas Considerations

        2. Hydrogen Water Chemistry

            a) N-13/N-16 Chemistry

            b) Offgas Considerations

            c) Other Effects

    B. Radiolytic Effects of Impurities

VIII. Activity Production and Transport

    A. Sources of Activity

        1. Activation Products

        2. Fission Products

        3. Transuranics

    B. Activity Transport

        1. Coolant Impurity Activation

        2. Activated Corrosion Products

        3. Radiation Buildup

            a) Mechanism

            b) Monitoring

            c) Control Methods

        4. Fission Product Chemistry

            a) Iodine Chemistry

            b) Fission Gas Chemistry

            c) TRU Chemistry

IX. Fuel Status Assessment

    A. Release Mechanisms

        1. Recoil

        2. Diffusion

    B. Release Rate Calculations

        1. Fission Gases

        2. Iodine Isotopes

    C. Iodine Spiking



The primary course instructor is Dr. S. G. Sawochka. Selected sessions of the course also may be presented by other NWT personnel.

G. F. PALINO: Dr. Palino has been a Principal Consultant with NWT since 1979. From 1974 to 1979, he was associated with General Electric’s Nuclear Energy Division. Prior to joining GE, Dr. Palino taught chemistry, radiochemistry and engineering courses at San Jose State University, at Harvey Mudd College and at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Since joining NWT, Dr. Palino’s responsibilities have included technical management of PWR primary and secondary system chemistry studies and BWR radiation level assessment and control programs. He also has developed and presented training courses for BWR and PWR chemistry staffs and has worked in the areas of radwaste treatment, volume reduction, and tracer calibration of flowmeters.

S. G. SAWOCHKA: Dr. Sawochka currently is President of NWT Corporation. He has been involved with consulting and R&D projects in the fields of water chemistry, water treatment, corrosion, and radwaste processing in BWR and PWR systems for 30 years. He previously was Manager of Water Chemistry Development for General Electric’s BWR Systems Department. Dr. Sawochka has authored numerous publications in the referenced areas and has been an active member of EPRI committees that have developed guidelines for BWR and PWR chemistry control.

H. R. HELMHOLZ: Mr. Helmholz began his nuclear industry career in 1951 at Hanford. He subsequently joined the Case Institute of Technology where he organized the radiochemistry program and taught courses in nuclear chemistry. After several years at KAPL and at NRTS at Idaho Falls, where he supervised the S5G chemistry laboratory, he joined GE-Vallecitos and assumed responsibility for design and performance of chemical test programs at operating BWRs. Since joining NWT in 1981, he has had responsibility for numerous projects in the chemistry and radiochemistry areas including development of radioanalytical procedures, laboratory reviews, training course development and presentation, and assessments of solid waste radioassay techniques, radwaste dose rate to curie conversions, ventilation monitoring, and fuel failure modes.


CLASS SCHEDULE: Classes will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday with one hour for lunch and 8:15 to noon on Friday.

ENROLLMENT: Course enrollments are limited to 12. Reservations can be made by phone 408-281-1100, fax 408-578-0790 or e-mail. If you prefer, discuss your interests with the Program Director.

FEE: The $1,900 course fee covers the notebook, program materials, break refreshments, lunches (4) and one scheduled dinner. Lodging and other meals NOT INCLUDED. A Certificate of Participation is presented to each registrant. Payment or Purchase order is due within 30 days of enrollment. Fee is non-refundable unless the class is canceled. Alternates may be substituted for the enrollee at any time.

NWT reserves the right to cancel this class within two weeks of start date if fewer than three students are enrolled.

LOCATION/LODGING: The class will be held at the NWT offices in San Jose, California. Information on San Jose area hotels will be provided with enrollment confirmation.

ON SITE TRAINING SESSIONS: For information about holding this workshop at your site, please contact the Program Director.

ALTERNATE COURSE AVAILABLE: The following NWT course also is intermittently offered at our San Jose offices:

PWR Operational Chemistry: Problem Assessment and Diagnosis (4½ days)

This course also can be customized for specific plants and held at the plant site or corporate office. One or two day seminars on specific subjects or directed at specific utility personnel also can be developed.


Dr. S. G. Sawochka (Program Director)
at (408) 281-1100, fax (408) 578-0790 or
E-Mail: Sawochka@nwtcorp.com


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