In 1995, the High-Energy Piping Strategic Management Plan (HEPSMP) was initiated at TransAlta Utilities Corporation (TAU) for the three generating facilities. At that time, it was recognized that several of the piping systems were exhibiting signs of creep relaxation, with some hangers bottomed or topped out online and/or offline. Previous hanger adjustment attempts were not always adequate. The program workscope included: 1) hot and cold piping system walkdowns, 2) selection of high-priority girth weld inspection locations, 3) examination of critical weldments, 4) weld repairs where necessary, 5) adjustments or modifications of malfunctioning steam line hangers, and 6) recommended work for future scheduled outages. Prior to 1996, examination locations were limited to the traditional locations of the terminal points at the boiler and turbine, with reexaminations occurring at arbitrary intervals. Since the terminal points are not necessarily the most highly stressed welds causing service-related creep damage, service damage may not occur first at the pre-1996 examined locations. There was a need to maximize the safety and integrity of these lines by ensuring that the highest risk welds were identified and given the highest priority for examination. An engineering consulting company was selected to prioritize the highest risk weldments for each piping system. This risk-based methodology included the prediction and evaluation of actual sustained loads, thermal expansion loads, operating loads, multiaxial stresses, creep relaxation, and cumulative creep life exhaustion. The technical process included detailed piping system walkdowns and application of advanced analytical techniques to predict and rank creep/fatigue damage for each piping system. TAU has concluded that the program has met its objective of successfully prioritizing inspection locations. The approach has also resulted in reducing the scope and cost of reexaminations. Phases 1 and 2 evaluations and examinations have been completed for all units. Results of some of the important aspects of this program are provided as case history studies.

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