Nowadays, the usefulness of RTR (Reinforced Thermosetting Resin) for pressure retaining equipment does not need further proof: they are lightweight, strong, with low thermal elongation and highly corrosion resistant. The use of RTR piping makes all sense for piping systems circulating raw water such as sea water at moderate pressure and temperature for plants cooling. However, this material is rarely used for safety related cooling systems in nuclear power plants.
In Belgium, Electrabel and Tractebel have chosen to replace the existing carbon steel pipes of the raw water system by GRE (Glassfiber Reinforced Epoxy) pipes, in accordance with the Authorized Inspection Agency, applying the ASME Code Case (CC) N-155-2 defining the specifications and requirements for the use of RTR pipes, fittings and flanges.
After a challenging qualification process, Class 3 GRE pipes are now installed and operating for raw water cooling systems in two Belgian nuclear units and will soon be installed in a third one.
The paper will address the followed qualification processes and the implementation steps applied by Electrabel/Tractebel and relate the overcome obstacles encountered during manufacturing, erection and commissioning of Class 3 GRE piping in order to ensure quality, reliability and traceability required for safety equipment in nuclear power plants.