Fine Tubes and Superior Tube see a growing interest in their specialist tubing products from the nuclear industry around the world. The industry, which, since the Fukushima nuclear reactor incident, has experienced several difficult years with a number of projects being put on hold or some even cancelled, is currently seeing activity starting to increase again.
That new optimism was evident at the World Nuclear Exhibition, held June 28-30, 2016, in Paris, at which Fine Tubes and Superior Tube jointly exhibited their latest high-specification tubing range in stainless steel, titanium, zirconium and nickel alloys. Over the course of the event, the two companies held significant discussions with such major European nuclear industry players as EDF, Areva and British Energy as well as representatives from China's fast-developing nuclear industry and a number of other operators and engineering companies involved in both new builds and maintenance.
Both companies have the facilities to develop and manufacture seamless, welded or welded & redrawn (Weldrawn®) tubes for critical components in the Primary and Turbine Nuclear Island that are vital to the safe operation and long life-cycles of nuclear reactors. Typical nuclear applications include:
- Fuel and control rods
- Fuel assembly grid wear sleeve tubing
- Instrumentation tubing
- Heat exchanger tubing
Fine Tubes and Superior Tube, both units of the Specialty Metal Products, division of AMETEK Inc., have long been involved within the nuclear industry. For Fine Tubes, that involvement began in the 1970s, when it started to supply nuclear fuel cans to the first generation of UK gas-cooled reactors. Since then, the company has manufactured products for AGR, pressurized water, light water, heavy water and fast breeder reactors. Its tubes currently are deployed at plants in the European Union, the United States, Canada, India and China.
Superior Tube established its nuclear products division in 1956 to produce nuclear-grade tubing and special fabrications used in reactors for civilian nuclear power stations and other post-war nuclear applications. Since then, the company has worked closely with the US Government on a wide range of nuclear energy projects and has participated in many government-funded development efforts in the nuclear sector.
Today, Fine Tubes and Superior Tube continue to work closely with the world's leading nuclear reactor suppliers on new build, maintenance, life extension and decommissioning projects, including the manufacture of critical heat exchanger tubing for the Flamanville pressurized reactor in France.