Pressure vessel for AP1000 nuclear reactor in China put in place

The reactor pressure vessel was delivered to the Sanmen site in July. Photo courtesy of Sanmen Nuclear Power Co. Ltd and Westinghouse Electric Co.

Construction of the Sanmen nuclear power plant in China has reached a milestone with the installation of the pressure vessel for the first reactor. The pressure vessel for the Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear reactor in China was put into place Sept. 22.

China's State Nuclear Power Technology Corp. (SNPTC) is building one of the world's first AP1000 reactors at the Sanmen nuclear power plant. The component was made by Doosan Heavy Industries in South Korea using some forgings from China First Heavy Industries. It was shipped to Sanmen in July and lifted to a height of 54 metres (177 ft.) in order to enter the reactor building through its open roof and then lowered into place.

The vessel head and control rod drive mechanisms are to be shipped and installed separately.

Construction at Sanmen's second reactor was fitted with the third ring of the containment vessel on Sept. 19. The same work was carried out at Unit 1 last September.


Industry adopts global best practices

The world's leading civilian nuclear power plant vendors announced Sept. 15 a common set of principles they said reflect global best practices for the export of nuclear power plants, including export to countries with an emerging interest in developing civilian nuclear energy.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the initiative's facilitator, said the "Principles of Conduct" reflect the participating companies' commitment to sharing best practices that reinforce and enhance existing codes, standards and regulations.

Development of the principles began well in advance of the March 11 Fukushima nuclear accident, but the completed text reflects initial lessons learned from the accident.

Companies adopting the principles include Areva, ATMEA (an Areva-Mitsubishi joint venture), Atomstroyexport, Candu Energy (successor exporting company to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.), GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Korea Electric Power Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Toshiba and Westinghouse Electric Co.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a release that the principles "articulate concisely the nuclear power plant industry's shared high standards in the areas of safety, security, environmental protection and spent fuel management, compensation in the unlikely event of nuclear-related damage, nonproliferation and ethics." It said no such voluntary, comprehensive, export-oriented code of conduct has previously existed in the nuclear industry.

The voluntary Principles of Conduct were crafted over the past three years by representatives from all the major exporters of nuclear power plants. They have been adopted by nine companies based in Canada, France, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The principles take effect immediately.


Nuclear power plant maintenance to be performed by Westinghouse

Westinghouse Electric Co. was awarded a $35 million contract to install replacement reactor vessel heads and associated services for Axpo AG's 730 MWe Beznau nuclear power plant in Switzerland.

The installations are scheduled to occur during the plant's 2014 spring outage for Unit 1 and fall outage for Unit 2. Westinghouse will also install new plant computers from New Extended Information System during the planned outages.

As part of the contract, Westinghouse will create a temporary opening in each unit's concrete and steel containment using plasma cutting. The old heads will be removed from the reactor vessels and transferred from containment into the on-site radioactive waste intermediate storage building.


Fluor invests in small modular nuclear reactor company

Fluor Corp. said that the company has committed to making an investment exceeding $30 million in NuScale Power LLC., an Oregon-based small modular reactor (SMR) technology company.

As part of its investment, Fluor has purchased the company's shares that had previously been in U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) receivership and has become NuScale's majority shareholder. Going forward, NuScale will continue to operate as an independent company.

"Fluor's investment in NuScale coupled with our contractual relationship enables NuScale to move ahead in a stronger position than ever with the backing of a major player in the global nuclear energy industry," said Paul Lorenzini, chief executive officers of NuScale.

Fluor and NuScale have entered into a separate contractual arrangement whereby Fluor will provide certain services to NuScale as well as have exclusive rights to provide engineering and construction services for future NuScale SMR facilities.


Areva to manufacture 32 steam generators for EDF

EDF selected Areva to supply 32 of the 44 steam generators to be installed in France's 1,300 MW nuclear power plants in a deal that will be worth around 1.1 billion euros.

According to the schedule drawn up by EDF, 16 steam generators are to be delivered in July 2016, eight in January 2017 and a further eight in January 2018.


Fluor signs MOU for new build projects in Poland

Fluor Corp. signed a memorandum of understanding with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) as GEH's engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner to pursue nuclear new-build projects in Poland.

Poland's power utility Polska Grupa Energetyczna S.A. is expected to complete its vendor selection in mid-2013 and targeted 2020 as the commercial date of operation for its first nuclear power plant.

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