The Merrick Group Completes Cooling Tower Cleaning and Maintenance at Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory

The Merrick Group returned to the KAPL Department of Defense/Department of Energy site in October of 2014 to continue work on the MARF cooling tower where a list of projects were completed safely and successfully.

The Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) on the bank of the Mohawk River in Niskayuna, New York has a long and storied past that dates back to 1951. It was one of the original research and development facilities for electrical generation by means of nuclear energy and one of only a handful of laboratories for research and development of nuclear propulsion for the United States Navy.

Research and development conducted at KAPL led directly to the successful design, construction and operation of several types of reactors used in submarines, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers. Today, KAPL is operated by Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation.

Our work at the KAPL DOD/DOE Cooling Tower was fairly extensive. Cooling tower maintenance aspects included repairs of timber structures as well as removal of the existing pressure treated fan decking. Here we replaced the pressure treated timber with a new composite fan deck material.

In addition, our expert crews removed the existing fan stacks, blades and hubs and replaced them with new versions that met or exceeded OEM standards. The process of balancing and pitching the fan blades to ensure optimum velocity while eliminating any drag was meticulously performed. Once the system was fully inspected, we then worked with the onsite operations crew to conduct test runs of the new equipment to ensure optimum, safe and efficient operation.

As always, we assisted the operator in the assessment of written records of past cooling tower cleaning processes and maintenance schedules. While this was the precursor to the current repair and maintenance project, the detailed inspection and the checklist of maintenance and repair processes currently performed by The Merrick Group were added to the documentation.

As part of continuing work on the MARF cooling tower, we made plans with the operator to return for additional cooling tower maintenance projects in the summer of 2015. The parameters and specifics of this future maintenance and repair plan were made part of the ongoing maintenance and repair log documentation.