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Nuclear Cooling Tower Tornado Damage

RRJ was engaged to analyze and design repairs to a nearly completed natural draft cooling tower damaged when a tower crane was felled by a tornado. The impact of the crane counterweight gouged a V-notch shape in the upper edge of the 450 feet tall tower. RRJ performed a comprehensive analytical study to ensure that the construction completed tower would meet the design criteria.

RRJ’s repair plans involved repairing the cracks, sawing back the notch in a step fashion, refurbishing the scaffolding, rebuilding the gouged region, and completing the construction. Two circumferential precast and cast-in-place stiffening rings were added to the shell for added stability.

Coincidentally, a construction accident involving a collapse of a similar cooling tower forming system at Willow Island in Mississippi had happened. As a result of this similar event, RRJ undertook a complete review of the forming system, including geometric tolerance studies, strength evaluation, and forming suitability for continuation of construction. With minor repair and refurbishment, the forming system was used to replace the concrete damaged by the tower crane impact and complete the tower.

Additionally, RRJ provided legal assistance and expert witness testimony in the matters arising out of the tornado event and associated construction contract litigation.

Project Details

Location Mississippi
Client Entergy Nuclear (Formerly owned by Mississippi Power & Light Company)
Team Otto "Chuck" Guedelhoefer
Markets Industrial & Manufacturing, Forensics & Litigation Support
Services Engineering Solutions, Investigation + Repair Services, Litigation Consulting

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