Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has received an order from EDF (Electricite de France S.A.) to supply three replacement steam generators (RSG) for a pressurized water reactor (PWR) nuclear power plant (NPP) in France. Their delivery will begin in 2016. The latest order brings the cumulative number of units ordered to MHI by EDF to 15 since the first order was placed in 2005.
EDF, headquartered in Paris, is the one of the world's largest electricity suppliers, providing electricity to approximately 38.1 million customers in Europe. The company operates 58 PWRs, and in line with its NPP component renewal program, is sequentially replacing the existing steam generators (SG) at its PWR NPPs, which went into operation in the 1980s. The three RSGs ordered will be used in the renewal of a 900 MWe (megawatts of electricity) class NPP.
Through international bidding, MHI received the latest RSG order jointly with France's COMEX NUCLÉAIRE (CxN), a company with which MHI has been collaborating in NPP marketing in France since 2002. CxN, headquartered in Marseille, provides highly specialized services and maintenance for NPP facilities.
The RSGs on order, which measure 21 meters in height and weigh roughly 300 tons, will be manufactured at MHI's Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works. Their pressure-resistant container, made of low-alloy steel*, houses more than 4,000 heat transfer tubes made of a thermally treated alloy - TT690**, an advanced material. SGs play a crucial role in PWRs by transferring the thermal energy generated in the reactor vessel to a secondary coolant and feeding the resulting steam to a turbine system to generate electricity.
The SG also has the function as a pressure boundary to preserve primary coolant water under high-temperature and high-pressure environment. For this reason, manufacturing of SGs requires very sophisticated and ultra-precise technology plus an abundance of knowhow and experience related to design, welding, assembly and inspection. Therefore, only a limited number of companies in the world are capable of their production.
In recent years MHI has been vigorously expanding sales of its NPP equipment, attracting orders for 31 units of its RSGs from overseas, including this order, France, Belgium and the United States.
In response to increasing demand for NPPs and their components, MHI boosted the SG manufacturing capacity of the Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works in July 2008 and completed construction of a plant dedicated to steam turbines for nuclear power generation at its Takasago Machinery Works in September 2009. The company also plans to complete expansion of a plant to manufacture nuclear reactor vessels and reactor internals at the Kobe Shipyard's Futami Plant within the fiscal year ending March 2012. With these initiatives MHI is firmly establishing a structure that will enable production capacity expansion to accommodate the numerous new NPP construction projects planned worldwide, including Japan, as well as vigorous replacement demand for SGs and other components.
The latest order was awarded based on EDF's recognition of MHI's and CxN's sophisticated engineering and technological expertise, product quality, reliability, and capability to adapt to the standards and licensing rules France requires, in addition to its abundant RSG delivery and operational track records and production capacity. Going forward, MHI and CxN's will continue its robust marketing activities to further expand business in the global NPP market, including France, a leader in nuclear power generation, while also focusing on further enhancement of the safety and reliability of nuclear power generation.
* Steam generators are manufactured using strong low-alloy steel made of manganese, molybdenum and nickel steel, a combination highly resistant to the strong pressures characteristic of pressurized reactor (primary) and secondary coolants.
** TT690 is a thermally treated nickel-chromium-iron alloy offering enhanced resistance to stress corrosion cracks under high temperatures and pressures. It is used as a principal material of heat transfer tubes.