Continuing Luminant's commitment to waste reduction, Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant is kicking off 2013 nearly 200,000 pounds lighter! The plant recently completed a significant post-operation recycling effort of the old Unit 1 and Unit 2 circuit breakers.
"These were the original breakers from when the units came online more than 20 years ago and were similar to big light switches used to distribute electricity across Texas,” said Tim Curtis, senior environmental technician. "We replaced them during our fall outage with a more efficient design, which will require less maintenance.”
But that's not where the story ends for the retired breakers. Undergoing a three-day recovery operation, crews first identified the various metals in the equipment and then began the dismantling process.
"After testing the metals, we discovered the breakers are roughly 85 percent steel and also contain aluminum, copper and brass, which are all recyclable materials,” explained Tim. "Our next step involved cutting the breakers into smaller pieces for easier transportation.”
To cut the breakers into smaller pieces, crews brought in the heavy-duty equipment: shears with the capacity to cut through nearly two inches of steel. The pieces were then transported to a salvage center in Fort Worth to prepare them for processing and shipment around the world.
This project is just one drop in the recycling bucket for Luminant. In fact, since 1993, Luminant has recycled more than 42 billion pounds of materials. At Comanche Peak alone, roughly 800,000 pounds of materials – including scrap metal, wood, paper, used oil, batteries, light bulbs and aluminum cans – are recycled each year.
In addition, EFH and its businesses are committed to reducing the impact they have on the environment through vigorous recycling, aggressive use of recycled materials and drastically slashed hazardous waste generation. Read more about EFH's efforts to minimize waste here.
- Steel is the number one recycled material in North America and each year, more steel is recycled in the U.S. than paper, plastic, aluminum and glass combined.
- New steel products contain anywhere from 25 percent to 100 percent of recycled content.
- A year's worth of recycled steel saves the equivalent energy to power roughly 18 million homes for a year.