Equipos Nucleares SA (Ensa) of Spain will become a key supplier of reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) under a strategic agreement signed with GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH).
|Ensa's Maliano facility, where large nuclear components are made
Under the agreement, GEH and Ensa will collaborate on RPVs for certain Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) power plant opportunities. Inside a nuclear plant, the RPV safely houses the reactor core and coolant.
Danny Roderick, GEH senior vice president of nuclear plant projects, said: "We are pleased to count Equipos Nucleares as a key supplier for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy." He added, "This strategic agreement adds to GEH's existing supply chain and allows us to support the demand we foresee in the near future."
In February 2009, Japan Steel Works (JSW) supplied Ensa with the first of six forgings required to fabricate one ESBWR reactor pressure vessel. Ensa anticipates completing the RPV manufacturing process by mid-2012.
Ensa, part of the state-owned holding SEPI Group, designs, manufacturers and installs heavy components and other major equipment for nuclear power plants, such as reactor vessels and their internal components, steam and pressure generators, as well as for thermal power plants and other facilities. The company currently exports 85% of its production and manufactures components and equipment for nuclear power plants in several countries, including the USA, China, South Korea, South Africa, France and Sweden.
In order to fabricate GEH's two RPV types, Ensa is upgrading its facilities, including increasing crane capacity from 900 to 1300 tonnes and radiographic testing capacity from eight to nine million electron volts, while enlarging related systems and equipment. The company operates a facility in Maliano, on the northern coast of Spain.
In July 2008, Ensa agreed to collaborate with fellow Spanish company Tecnicas Reunidas (TR) in the supply of heat exchangers for nuclear and thermal power plants worldwide. The two companies were jointly awarded a contract in 2007 to supply two replacement heat exchangers for a Spanish nuclear power plant. The success of this contract led the companies to signing the partnership agreement for further collaboration.
Four Spanish companies, including Ensa, have formed a joint venture specifically targeted at supplying products and services to the Chinese nuclear power market. Enusa, Tecnatom and Ensa originally formed the Spanish Nuclear Group for China (SNGC) consortium in February 2007. On 4 July, Ringo Valvulas agreed to join the group, which then officially became a joint venture rather than a commercial alliance. Each company holds a 25% stake in SNGC, whose purpose is the marketing and supply of nuclear products and services abroad, particularly in China.