Inspecting the stationary part of a generator (Image: Alstom)
Alstom has signed a framework agreement with Electricité de France (EdF) for the renovation of generators at EdF's nuclear power reactors. Alstom originally supplied the generators for all the units.
The orders coming from this contract will run over ten years and will be worth a total of more than €140 million ($188 million), according to Alstom. The first generator rewinds are planned for 2010 at the Belleville and Chooz nuclear power plants.
Alstom's facilities in La Courneuve and Belfort will provide comprehensive project management, including conceptual design, parts supply and site work. The company said that the renovated generators would include new stator bars based on hollow, stainless steel conductors.
Apart from one experimental fast breeder reactor (Phenix), all French units are now pressurised water reactors (PWRs) of three standard types designed by Framatome, now Areva NP (the first two were derived from US Westinghouse designs): 900 MWe, 1300 MWe and 1450 MWe N4 type. EdF operates 34 reactors of the 900 MWe design, 20 of the 1300 MWe model and 4 reactors of the N4 type.
The 900 MWe reactors all had their lifetimes extended by ten years in 2002, after their second ten-yearly review. Most started up late 1970s to early 1980s, and they are reviewed together in a process that takes four months at each unit. A review of the 1300 MWe class followed and in October 2006 the regulatory authority cleared all 20 units for an extra ten years' operation, conditional upon minor modifications at their 20-year outages over 2005-2014.
In the light of operating experience, EdF uprated its four N4 reactors - two each at Chooz and Civaux - from 1455 to 1500 MWe each in 2003. Between 2008 and 2010, EdF plans to uprate five of its 900 MWe reactors by 3%. In 2007, the company announced that the twenty 1300 MWe reactors would be uprated some 7% from 2015, within existing licence limits, and adding about 15 TWh per year to output.
France has exported its PWR reactor technology to Belgium, South Africa, South Korea and China. There are two 900 MWe French reactors operating at Koeberg, near Capetown, in South Africa, two at Ulchin in South Korea and four at Daya Bay and Lingao near Hong Kong, in China.