GE tests largest ever last-stage blade for Arabelle turbine’s rotor

17 March 2021

US-based GE Steam Power said on 15 March that it had designed, manufactured and tested the Arabelle turbine’s first low pressure rotor equipped with the largest ever last-stage blade at 75 inches.

The fully assembled low pressure rotor was thoroughly tested at GE’s factory in Belfort, France and inserted into a balancing pit specifically designed for large turbines. The 8-metre-wide bladed module rotated at a speed of 1,500 revolutions per minute, similar to the future site conditions. An EDF Energy inspector, present at the factory, signed off on the quality and reliability test. The low pressure rotor is set to be shipped from Belfort factory to the UK’s Hinkley Point C (HPC) NPP site in 2021.

"This major turbine part is a first quarter 2021 milestone for Hinkley Point C achieved on time, despite the pandemic” said Guillaume Callewaert, EDF HPC Programme director, “It illustrates the scale of what we are doing for this project and our commitment to Net Zero energy to fight against climate change. This large component will be delivered to site and support the Mechanical and Electrical ramp-up phase of our project in the coming months.”

As part of its contract for the engineering, procurement, and commissioning of the two conventional islands for Hinkley Point C, GE Steam Power is manufacturing and delivering critical equipment including the Arabelle steam turbine and generators. EDF Energy is building Hinkley Point C (HPC) featuring two EPR reactors.

Last stage blades are part of the low pressure module in a steam turbine generator which converts steam into electricity in a nuclear power plant. Longer blades increase efficiency of a steam turbine and allow to further optimized backpressure – all of which contribute to greater power output from the nuclear power plant.

“Hinkley Point C is key to the UK’s energy strategy to reduce the power industry emissions” said Frédéric Wiscart, Senior Executive of Projects at GE Steam Power. “Once completed, it will deliver 3.2GW of dependable, CO2 free electricity to the grid for the next 60 years. At GE Steam Power, we’re proud to play our part in such an important project.”

In January, GE Steam Power delivered the first Arabelle steam turbine module to the Akkuyu NPP under construction in Turkey. GE’s full scope for Akkuyu includes all the major equipment for the nuclear power plant’s four turbine islands including the Arabelle steam turbines, the Gigatop 4 poles generators and the vacuum pumps in the turbine hall. The first equipment was delivered four months ahead of schedule.

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