Alstom awarded control system contract

05 September 2012

EDF has awarded a contract to Alstom to retrofit the control systems of all of its 1300 MWe units in France. The contract is part of EDF's program to extend the operating lives of those units.

Alstom originally installed the Controbloc N20 control system during construction of the units - which all began operating between 1985 and 1994 - and has since maintained them. The system employs various sensors throughout the plant monitoring components, such as valves, actuators of pumps, engines and electrical units. The information provided by the system gives operators a clearer picture of the status of the unit's operation, allowing them to make adjustments where necessary.

Under the new €50 million ($63 million) contract, Alstom will retrofit those systems by adding new technology based on its latest ALSPA Series 6 system. The company claims that the latest system - which includes steam turbine and generator control - "provides a consistent technology from low-level controls to high-level asset management dashboard and optimization tools."

The twenty 1300 MWe-class units were constructed at eight French plants: Paluel, Flamanville, Saint-Alban, Cattenom, Belleville, Nogent-sur-Seine, Golfech and Penly. Deployment of the first retrofitted unit is expected in early 2015.

The contract is the latest in a series regarding this portion of EDF's fleet which is being prepared for a potentially longer operating lifespan. In July 2010, EDF said that it was assessing the prospect of 60-year lifetimes for all 58 its existing reactors. This would involve replacement of all steam generators (three in each 900 MWe reactor and four in each 1300 MWe unit) and other refurbishment, costing €400-600 million ($500-750 million) per unit to take them beyond 40 years.

In September 2011, EDF awarded contracts totalling €1.5 billion ($1.9 billion) for 44 replacement steam generators for the 1300 MWe-class fleet, splitting the work between Areva and Westinghouse. This was followed by a €600 million ($750 million) contract in December 2011 under which Areva would upgrade monitoring and control systems at the same units.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News