GE to supply turbine islands for Egyptian nuclear project

9 October 2018

GE Power has won the contract to deliver the turbine island equipment for the El Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt through AAEM its joint venture with Russia’s Atomenergomash.

GE will be responsible for the basic design of four conventional islands for the 1200MW VVER-1200 reactors, including the supply of four Arabelle half-speed steam turbines and Gigatop 4-pole generators. It will also provide technical expertise for the installation and commissioning.

The contract is valued at $700 million, Michael Keroullé, the chief commercial officer for steam power systems at GE Power told Nuclear Engineering International. The project is due to enter the design phase in 2019, with manufacturing expected to start at GE’s Belfort factory in France in 2020, and delivery to site planned for 2021/2022, he said. 

The first unit at El Dabaa is scheduled to start operation in 2026, subject to receipt of a construction licence from the Egyptian Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority by mid-2020, according to Grigory Sosnin, vice president of ASE Group, the general contractor for the project.

The El Dabaa nuclear plant is part of Egypt’s ambitious plant to diversify its installed base and meet growing power needs in the country. GE Power has been supporting the country’s power sector for 40 years, delivering some 16GW to the Egyptian grid, and it has recently completed the new Badr 220/220kV gas-insulated substation, which will play a strategic role in the Egypt–Saudi Arabia Interconnection.

The fifth contract for a Russian plant

The El Dabaa contract is GE’s fifth for a Russian-designed nuclear plant. The AAEM joint-venture was awarded its first contract for the Baltic nuclear power plant in Kaliningrad in February 2012, but that project was suspended.

In 2017, ten years after its inception, the JV was selected to supply turbine islands for the Hanhikivi project in Finland and the four-unit Akkuyu station in Turkey. The Finnish project is currently in the design phase, while the Turkish project is “full swing into the engineering and design phase,” according to Keroullé.

GE is also supplying the turbine island for Paks II in Hungary, after winning a competitive tender for the project. The project is in the permitting phase, with regulatory approval required before manufacturing can begin. This authorisation is expected in mid-2019, Keroullé said.

Looking beyond Russian-designed units, GE has begun manufacture of the turbine blades for the UK’s Hinkley Point C project, with delivery to site expected in the 2020 timeframe. It is also working with EDF to prepare the last stage of negotiation on the Jaitapur project in India.

About Arabelle

Alstom developed the Arabelle steam turbine technology in France and GE acquired Alstom’s energy business in 2015.

The Arabelle is unique among nuclear steam turbines as it has single-flow high pressure and intermediate pressure sections, in a combined casing to reduce overall length. Incoming steam expands in the single flow HP section and is fed to the moisture separator reheaters, where it is superheated in two stages. The superheated steam is later expanded in the single flow IP cylinder of the turbine.

The turbine’s modular construction means it can be fitted with two to four low-pressure modules and last stage blades of three different sizes (57in, 69in, 75in). It comes in capacities between 700MW and 1900MW and can operate at both 60Hz and 50Hz, making it suited to many different reactor types.

The Arabelle steam turbine, which has been in operation in France for the past 18 years has 400,000 hours of operating experience.

Photo: The Arabelle steam turbine rotor (Credit: GE Power)

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