The Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station, a power plant located near New Brunswick, Canada, recently underwent a complete audio upgrade featuring Crown Audio CTs Series amplifiers.
Point Lepreau, which began operating in 1983, has been redesigned to meet all current nuclear facility standards including its public address and life safety systems.
“Since 9/11, much closer attention has been paid to life safety systems,” says Steve O’Rourke, audio division manager of Backman Vidcom, the Halifax, Nova Scotia integrator responsible for installing the plant-wide public address system. “Along with security, fire protection and rescue systems, the PA system has an extremely important role in plant safety. People need to be able to hear announcements and alerts clearly – it can be a matter of life and death in an emergency situation.”
The Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station system includes 18 Crown CTs Series CTs 8200USP/CN power amplifiers with CobraNet networking cards and 32 Crown CTs 2000 amps with PIP3 card connectivity.
“This gives us a total of 208 channels and 92,800 watts of power,” O’Rourke notes. “We needed the networking capability the Crown amps provide because we designed the installation to be a completely self-monitoring system.”
Since the previous PA was 30 years old it needed to be completely replaced. “This gave us the opportunity to take advantage of the latest advancements in amplifier and speaker design and system control. What the plant needed was a ‘Voice of God’ PA that could reliably deliver pages all day long and could be clearly heard for any alert and emergency situations that might occur. It had to be intelligible even over the adverse noise conditions that occur in a large industrial complex,” O’Rourke states.
The system also absolutely had to keep functioning during emergency situations and had to be CSA (Canadian Standards Association) certified and assembled to nuclear-grade standards. For these reasons O’Rourke only used most reliable components and built in a level of redundancy so that the PA would keep working even if parts of it incurred physical damage.
“The Crown amplifiers proved ideal for this unique situation because of their networking, internal processing and status reporting capabilities. We also chose them for their reliability, limited current draw and small thermal footprint,” adds O’Rourke. “The flexibility of the Crown amps was key for making this installation work. I can’t imagine having undertaken this project with any other amplifier.
“Everything in this installation had to be the best possible – even the quality of the equipment racks had to be literally nuclear-grade – and that is why there was no question about us using anything but Crown amplifiers,” he concludes.