Spain to supply GEH's pressure vessels

14 April 2009

Spanish firm Equipos Nucleares SA (ENSA) will be a 'key supplier' of reactor pressure vessel fabrication for new ABWRs and ESBWRs, GE Hitachi said today.

Under a strategic agreement, the two companies will collaborate on RPVs for Advanced Boiling Water Reactors and Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors. The RPV safely houses the reactor core and coolant.

“This strategic agreement adds to GEH's existing supply chain and allows us to support the demand we foresee in the near future,” said Danny Roderick, GEH senior vice president, nuclear plant projects.

In February 2009, Japan Steel Works supplied ENSA with the first of six large forgings needed to fabricate one ESBWR reactor pressure vessel. ENSA expects to complete production of the vessel by mid-2012.

The RPVs will be manufactured at ENSA's heavy component facility in Maliaño, on the northern coast of Spain. However in order to deliver such large components ENSA is upgrading its facilities. For example it is increasing crane capacity from 900 to 1300t and radiographic testing capacity from 8MeV to 9MeV, as well as enlarging related systems and equipment.

While GEH's reactor designs, especially the ESBWR, have so-far proved unpopular in the USA compared with the AP1000 and EPR, they may have better prospects overseas. Last month GEH signed a MoU with two Indian companies to collaborate on building ABWRs and ESBWRs in the country.

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