College of Engineering, Design & Computing Events

CEAS seminar, “Prestressed concrete nuclear reactor pressure vessel"

| 11:00 AM - 12:15 PM
Room Number : 3004
North Classroom
1200 Larimer Street
Denver, CO

Dr. Fred Rutz, CU Denver civil engineering

Colorado’s only nuclear power plant, the Fort Saint Vrain Nuclear Power Generation Station, located between Denver and Greeley, operated in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Its signature structural feature was a 10-story high prestressed concrete reactor vessel, known as a PCRV.  Constructed in the late 1960’s, the PCRV contained both the reactor core and steam generating components.  It served its purpose during reactor operations until the facility was decommissioned in 1992.  Fred Rutz, today an associate professor in civil engineering at CU Denver, worked both on PCRV design and at the plant during its construction and start-up testing. 

He will speak on:

  • Early application of Finite Element Analysis, when FEM was new.
  • Development of the PCRV design.
  • Construction of the large, specialty pressure vessel.
  • Decommissioning of the reactor, a complicated process involving removal of highly radioactive reactor internal components and deconstruction of radioactive prestressed concrete.

Rutz’s case study offers insight into a unique structure built in Colorado and related aspects of nuclear power generation.

Rutz earned a BSCE from Tufts University in 1970, an MSCE from University of Washington in 1971, and a PhD from University of Colorado Denver in 2004.   His experience with nuclear reactor structures came from his work with General Atomic Company in the 1970’s and early 1980’s.  Today he is a Principal at J.R. Harris & Company, Structural Engineers, and an Associate Professor at CU Denver.

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