Two new steam generators have been delivered to Electrabel's Doel nuclear power plant near Antwerp, Belgium. They were made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) at its Kobe shipyard.
|One of two new steam generators for Doel 1 (Image: MHI)
Steam generators are crucial components of plants based on pressurized water reactors (PWRs), transferring the thermal energy generated in the reactor vessel to the turbine generator by producing steam to drive the turbine.
MHI received the order in February 2006 for the supply of the replacement steam generators for Doel 1. The parts - measuring 20 meters in height and weighing some 270 tonnes - consist of pressure-resistant containers made of low-alloy steel (containing manganese, molybdenum and nickel) surrounding a bundle of 4800 heat transfer tubes manufactured from a thermally treated nickel-chromium-iron alloy.
The steam generators at most of Belgium's nuclear power plants are being replaced progressively. With the delivery of these two, MHI has now supplied ten out of a total 19 steam generators at Belgium's seven power reactors. The company delivered three to units 1 and 2 of the Tihange plant, in 1995 and 2001 respectively, and two to unit 2 of the Doel plant in 2004. The replacement of the steam generators at Tihange 2 added 48 MWe to the unit's capacity.
Doel 1 - a 392.5 MWe PWR which began operating in 1974 - is licensed to operate until 2014 and Electrabel - now part of GdF Suez - recently began preparing the safety case for extending the operating lives of Doel 1 and 2 and Tihange 1 by ten years.