Italy's Ansaldo Nucleare has agreed to become a partner in a UK alliance to design and build heavy modules and components for new nuclear plants.
|The construction hall at the Birkenhead shipyard (Image: Cammell Laird)
In August 2010, shipbuilder Cammell Laird announced that it had teamed up with nuclear technology supplier Nuvia to enter the nuclear module market. Italian nuclear engineering company Ansaldo Nucleare - part of the state-owned Finnmechanica group - has now signed an agreement to join the partnership.
The partners propose to fabricate 'super modules' for Westinghouse AP1000 and Areva EPR nuclear power plants, initially for the UK market. These are to be made using "an off-site 'weather protected' construction hall and sea access load-out facilities" at Cammell Laird's shipyard in Birkenhead on the River Mersey near Liverpool. The facilities are capable of handling modules weighing up to 5000 tonnes.
Cammell Laird said, "The principle advantages of this innovative approach lie in the ability to design and build larger units than previously possible in a weather protected factory environment. This will ultimately reduce construction costs, improve quality, safety and delivery performance while reducing onsite construction content by a considerable factor."
The company noted that the partnership will result in hundreds of jobs "when the new build program begins in approximately 18 months."
Cammell Laird CEO John Syvret commented, "Ansaldo Nucleare has added an important new dimension to the partnership ... as they have patented module designs together with operational capability and significant design capacity."
Ansaldo Nucleare has a history of collaboration with Toshiba-Westinghouse dating to 2001, when it took part in the US licensing process of the AP1000. Cammell Laird noted that Ansaldo is "the designer of the major modules for the Westinghouse AP1000 plant and currently involved in the design and construction of the containment vessel at the Sanmen nuclear power plant in China."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News