EDF Energy (https://www.edfenergy.com/ ) owns and manages a fleet of 8 nuclear power stations within the United Kingdom, generating over 9,000 Megawatts of electricity. Each of these stations is equipped with a nuclear camera that allows intimate inspection of the nuclear core by means of an umbilical based around a corrugated/braided flexible metallic hose assembly.
United Flexible’s UK operation has successfully managed a project to manufacture a 47m (154 feet) long UFBX-based umbilical hose assembly incorporating a 55-core cable to control a remotely operated camera used to inspect the reactor core in one of EDF’s Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor stations.
The specially developed UFBX stainless steel corrugated and braided hose serves a three-fold purpose:
1) as the mechanical flexible link to lower the camera into the core,
2) as a conduit to contain and protect the vital multi-core control cable
3) as a hose to convey gaseous nitrogen to cool the control cable and camera.
During the testing phase, the hose is subjected to extreme end-load testing of 3/4 of a tonne. This end pull weight was many times greater than would be experienced by the hose during the most extreme operating cycle.
The umbilical has an expected operating life of 25 years. This particular umbilical was purchased to replace another United Flexible umbilical that has reached its planned retirement date after 25 years of continuous service. The replacement will take the operating station to the end of its scheduled service life.
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