CSI: Duke Energy

Duke Energy Nuclear Information Center

You won’t see them on TV but if you did, their show title might be “CSI: Duke Energy.”  The five-member Metallurgy Services group located at the Harris Energy and Environmental Center in New Hill, N.C., examines broken or malfunctioning equipment for plants in the Duke Energy nuclear fleet. There is also
a metallurgical lab at McGuire Nuclear Station.

These groups are to nuclear power plants what forensic experts are to crime scenes.

Metallurgy uses cameras, optical microscopes and electron microscopes to examine the physical evidence of broken components to determine how the failure occurred.  They document their results with highly-magnified, detailed digital images of the broken equipment to help explain why it failed or malfunctioned.

At the beginning of a scheduled maintenance outage at the Harris Nuclear Plant a few years ago, the team was asked to examine why a switch controlling a large piece of electrical equipment, known as…

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