Solution & Implementation


The project was completed in less than three weeks, saving the plant lost dollars in operations and assuring continuous service to its customers. The procedure has been recorded by the customer for future reference.

Not only was the valve successfully opened, another critical goal was met: the Furmanite team conducted the job with minimal FM introduction. This was of utmost importance to Energy Northwest as particles in length of 0.2 to 0.4 inches can be detrimental to the reactor fuel integrity. As such, traditional drill bits were utilized to drill down to the valve body calculated minimum wall (half-inch remaining), allowing all FM to be removed prior to breaching the valve body. Drilling then transitioned to a hole saw to ensure the resulting FM was limited to a halft-inch thick, two-and-a-half-inch wide coupon and acceptable chip sizes. Due to adequate seating conditions on the 24-inch valve, there was little pressure to vent so the Furmanite team was able to clear the cavity of remaining FM before pressing into the seat with a customized anti-skid device that eliminated the drilling of the gate and further eliminated any additional FM from entering the system.

The Team

A seven-person crew consisting of project managers, engineers and cross-trained service line specialists, working 24/7 in two shifts, accomplished the total project in just under 21 days.

The short time frame was possible because of Furmanite’s capability to combine engineering, manufacturing and service line expertise through its unique cross-training program. Unparalleled in the industry, Furmanite provides continuous training and certification of service line specialists who are crossed-trained to perform multiple specialty mechanical services.

The benefit to our customers: lean efficiencies in project time, project cost and number of people needed to perform tasks. Fewer technicians required on a job site means less congestion in work spaces, less instruction and job handoff, and reduced standby time. The same crew moved seamlessly from one mechanical operation to the next shortening the time needed to complete the project.

      “I want to express how proud I am of this team. Our departments worked night and day with Furmanite to design, fabricate, test, modify and finally install the big rig. This is a great example of what it looks like when teamwork and a commitment to excellence in performance            come together. My thanks to all of you for your dedication and perseverance for seeing this through to its successful end.”

       Brad Sawatzke

       Chief Operating Officer, Energy Northwest

Case Study: Energy Northwest

Furmanite conducts emergency valve repair preventing plant shutdown at Energy Northwest

CUSTOMER: Energy Northwest

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Energy Northwest, located north of Richland, Wash., owns and operates the only commercial nuclear energy facility in the northwest. It is a joint action agency, comprised of 27 public power member utilities from across the state, and serves more than 1.5 million ratepayers with reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy to power more than a million homes each year.

Energy Northwest’s Columbia Generating Station, a boiling water nuclear reactor plant that generates approximately 1,190 megawatts of electricity, is the third largest power generator in the state, producing about 10 percent of Washington state’s power. As a non-carbon emitting baseload resource, it is crucial to prevent unplanned shutdowns of the plant so that it can deliver continuous power production for the region. In July 2015, a feedwater valve experienced a stem-disc separation, leaving the valve in the closed position. If the valve could not be opened while online, the plant would need to shut down causing severe disruption of energy service and costing untold millions of dollars.

Energy Northwest contacted Furmanite for immediate repair services.

Solution & Implementation

The project involved evaluating the extent of the 24-inch feedwater discharge isolation valve damage, designing a repair solution, and implementing the solution quickly while the plant remained in operation. This valve, while non-safety related, performs the function of isolating feedwater flow to the reactor during shutdown and lowpower service conditions.

A MAJOR CHALLENGE: The 24-inch feedwater valve experienced a stemdisc separation, was stuck in the closed position and is positioned upside down 30 feet in the air.

Traditional repair options, including removing valve internals and valve replacements, would have required a plant shutdown to implement. Furthermore, on-line repair options, without protection or isolation from the pressure boundary, presented unacceptable industrial safety hazards due to the system characteristics (high temperature, high pressure, complex rigging, etc.). The feedwater system utilizes a dual loop flow path with each loop being able to maintain 65 percent reactor power. Once the valve was opened, the plant could ramp up over the following day to 100 percent power.

Before the actual work was performed, Furmanite designed a mock-up of the valve and the fixture was tested to ensure the required force could be applied safely and that rigging and access could be assessed in a controlled manner.

Then the team moved to the actual valve location. To solve the issue, Furmanite designed a specialty fixture to allow insertion of two push rods through the body of the valve, applying 300,000-lbs of force on the valve gate. The first step in the procedure was to hot tap two holes in the valve body perfectly aligned with either side of the valve gate. There was 3/32-inch clearance between the stellite seat and the edge of each push rod. This was performed using a pre-drill operation and a specially designed series of drill bits to eliminate the introduction of foreign material in the system.

Once the pre-drill operation was complete and a remaining half-inch wall was left before breakthrough into the live system, the fixture was mounted to the valve with a customized alignment system that allowed the previously drilled holes to align with the three-inch valves and launch a mechanism that acted as a pressure boundary. Prior to breaching, a pilot hole was drilled into the remaining valve body material to depressurize the valve cavity. Once the valve cavity was depressurized and once foreign material (FM) recovery methods were finalized (based on whether the cavity was pressurized or not), the final drilling operation could then be executed.

The breakthrough was carried out with a drill type that would create chips smaller than the critical size identified by Energy Northwest and would also allow for extraction via the nitrogen inject and flushing method. Once this was complete, bolt-tensioning equipment was used to apply even force on a large steel plate known as the “dog bone” because of its configuration. The force applied to the “dog bone” was transferred to two push rods inserted in the hot tapped holes. The force was slowly applied while simultaneously heating the valve seat to 450 degrees through the use of heat treatment equipment. When the valve seat expanded and sufficient force was applied, the valve gate was guided to the fully open position.

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On-Line Leak Sealing

Our leak-sealing technology and unrivaled
on-site service help you maximize asset uptime
by sealing leaks online, onsite and under pressure. This means you keep producing the ‘product’ while we solve your leak problems.

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Process Piping System Hot Tap

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At Furmanite we carry the largest and most diverse inventory of Hot Tapping equipment
in the world. We have a proven record of developing unique and custom Hot Tap solutions for the most complicated scenarios.

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Our Line Stopping services help prevent unwanted shutdowns and keep critical piping
and pipeline systems online during tie-ins, relocations, repairs, retrofits and routine maintenance.

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Our portable machining tools deliver the benefits of a fully equipped machine workshop on-site – where our clients need it most. We consistently achieve tolerances and finishes usually only achievable in a machine shop.

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Self Leveling Machines

Furmanite’s Self Leveling Machines deliver precision on-site machining for large circular and irregular shaped surfaces. Our circular and linear machining equipment is portable and ready for global deployment.

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Composite Repair

Our range of composite repair solutions is designed to ensure the ongoing structural integrity and load-bearing capabilities of your assets, improving their longevity whilst minimizing the impact on your productivity.

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Post Weld Heat Treatment

Furmanite offers a full range of heat treatment services through a wide range of temperatures. We manufacture, own and operate the most technologically advanced heat treatment equipment available in the marketplace.

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All Services

We offer a comprehensive range of on-site
and on-line plant and pipeline maintenance services. From standard applications to highly customized solutions our goal is to help you maximize your asset up time.

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Furmanite has been manufacturing Hot Tapping equipment for over 50 years. Our Hot Tapping Machines ensure your critical piping systems maintain a continuous flow while installing new tie-ins and branch connections.

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Line Stopping & Plugging

For over 50 years Furmanite’s Line Plugging equipment has been helping clients maintain a continuous flow on critical piping systems while performing repairs, relocations, valve or pump installations and pipe modifications.

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We have a wide range of Pipeline Repair
and Integrity products designed to handle emergency leak repairs in high pressure environments and improve the structural integrity and safety of your pipelines.

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Portable Machining Tools

Furmanite’s Silk portable and lightweight machine tools provide high tolerance solutions for a variety of problems. Renowned for their sound engineering, our Silk machines help you deliver precision onsite machining.

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The Wilson Snyder Switch Valve has provided proven reliability for over 80 years in Coker Switch Valve applications. Wilson Snyder Switch Valves have the lowest steam consumption in the industry.

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We offer a wide range of proprietary Safety, Environmental and Maintenance products designed to eliminate injuries and improve pipeline safety. At Furmanite, your ongoing safety is our number one priority.

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Furmanite’s SmartShim™ is a truly effective and state-of-the-art conductor analysis and chocking solution that will ensure your offshore production site remains productive, powerful and profitable.

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Furmanite has been a trusted resource for sophisticated engineering products for over
75 years. From Hot Tapping to Line Stopping, we have a wide range of products to meet your pipeline repair and maintenance needs.

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Furmanite - Innovative since 1920

Leak Sealing process developed leak-sealing-developed_thumb 01/01/1920

Furmanite Leak-Sealing process is Developed The under pressure Leak Sealing process is developed by Eugene Clay Furman at the Newport …

First DIY Leak-Sealing Kit old-furmanite-leak-sealing-equipment 01/01/1924

First DIY Leak-Sealing Kit The first do-it-yourself Leak Sealing kits were developed and marketed by Clay Furman and while they …

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Long Standing Relationships US customer reference list that includes individual war ships in the US Navy, US steel companies and …

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1st Patent is filed in 1927 The Furmanite patent for the leak sealing process filed in 1927 was the first …

Furmanite moves Overseas Liverpool-Exibition_thumb 06/01/1927

Furmanite moves Overseas First overseas agents appointed to market the leak Sealing kits including in the United Kingdom and Euro…

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Price List from 1926 Table detailing costs of allowing a steam leak based on $4 per ton for “Long coal”. …

Furmanite is thinking global furmanite-the-skys-the-limit_thumb 01/01/1929

Furmanite is thinking global A brief history of the United Kingdom Company written by A W Forsyth (OBE) in September 1973 …

Technology Development leak-sealing-diagram 11/22/1934

Technology Development Furmanite Expands Engineering on Leak Sealing Technology. Photographs taken from a 1934 sales brochure together with schematics of …

Growing Furmanite purchase-letter_thumb 05/01/1960

Growing Furmanite Letter from the Chairman of Furmanite Engineering based in Birkenhead, England to his lawyer requesting information on a …

New Direction New-Technology_thumb 01/01/1966

New Direction Alan Forsyth, acting as a consultant to Furmanite Engineering (1929) advised the Board to move from selling low …

Never compromise on the high quality Company-History-July-1979_thumb 07/01/1979

Never to compromise on the high quality A brief history of the United Kingdom Furmanite organisation written by Joyce Hainsworth, the …

Best in the business were called NASA---Discovery-Team_thumb 09/01/1988

Best in the business were called Furmanite successfully seals nitrous oxide leakage on the Space Shuttle “Discovery” pre launch September …

Start of Modern Furmanite company-overview 11/22/1991

Start of Modern Furmanite The common shares of Furmanite were acquired by Kaneb Inc on 24th January 1991. Furmanite remains …

Acquisition-GSG Division Acquisition-GSG-Division_thumb 01/13/2006

Acquisition of Flow-Serve GSG Division Furmanite as part of Xanser Corporation acquired the General Services Group (GSG) of Flow-Serve corporation …

Corporate Name Change Corporate-Name-Change_thumb 01/13/2007

Corporate Name Change Xanser Corporation (NYSE:XNR) changed the company’s name to Furmanite Corporation, and the company’s shares were traded on …

Acquisition of SLM Acquisition-of-SLM_thumb 04/13/2011

Furmanite Corporation Acquires Self Leveling Machining Technology Furmanite expanded  its global on-site machining capabilities through the acquisition of Self Leveling …


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