Root Cause Analysis of Low Head in a Centrifugal Pump

Plant test pump curve
                   Pump Performance Characteristics Showing Lower Pump Performance in Plant Conditions

The Fuel Pool Cooling System at a nuclear power plant had a 10×12-12 centrifugal pump that showed performance below the manufacturer’s pump curve. The pump was overhauled and a new impeller was installed. However, no significant change in the pump performance was observed.

KEI performed root-cause analysis of this issue and provided conclusions and recommendations. The most likely reason for the pump’s under-performance was concluded to be the presence of entrained air within the pump casing likely caused by marginal or insufficient NPSH. It was recommended to perform the pump testing to vent the trapped air. Additional recommendations were provided to improve the available NPSH, and disassembly and inspection of the pump internal components to observe any abnormalities.

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