Marking the first use of polyethylene in a nuclear safety related application, Dow Chemical's bimodal PE resin has been opted by AmerenUE (US) for its Callaway Nuclear Power Plant. DOW CONTINUUM(TM) DGDA-2492 BK Bimodal Polyethylene Resin will substitute carbon steel in the plant's buried essential service water (ESW) pipe system. The resin was specified as an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) PE 4710 material for use in 36-inch diameter pipe at the Callaway power plant. Callaway submitted an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) relief request to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to allow the use of HDPE for buried portions of the Callaway ESW system and received a safety evaluation from the NRC authorizing the use of HDPE at Callaway for the ESW system. "The distinct molecular architecture of this high performance resin contributes to longer extrapolated life expectancy, enhanced integrity and increased strength for pipes and fittings," says Jimmy Zhou, Sr., Development Specialist for The Dow Chemical Company.
The CONTINUUM bimodal resin was selected due to cost-effectiveness in nuclear power utilities relative to the steel piping systems. Over and above the latter, the HDPE resin is said to offer long term corrosion resistance, leak resistance and a higher level of performance and safety over its life span. Jimmy continued, "Callaway found it particularly well suited for power plant applications such as ESW pipe systems, which require long-term hydrostatic strength, outstanding resistance to slow crack growth and excellent performance at elevated temperatures such as 176 degrees Fahrenheit." CONTINUUM DGDA-2492 NT Bimodal Polyethylene Resin was developed using UNIPOL(TM) II process technology and designed for pipe applications. Applications for CONTINUUM Bimodal Polyethylene Resins include natural gas distribution pipes, sewage pipes, municipal water service lines, industrial piping, and mining.