Westinghouse in Chinese crane joint venture

16 May 2012

Westinghouse subsidiary PaR Nuclear has agreed to form a joint venture with China's Taiyuan Heavy Machinery to produce cranes and fuel handling equipment for Chinese nuclear power plants, particularly those based on the AP1000 reactor.

PaR Nuclear will hold a majority stake in the new joint venture - to be known as PaR-TZ Nuclear Company - which will provide the assembly, testing and sale of new critical crane components and fuel-handling equipment, as well as the associated services and spare parts of these to the Chinese commercial nuclear market. It will be based in the city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province. No financial details about the partnership were disclosed.

Polar crane for Sanmen 1 (Westinghouse)
Final on-site assembly of the polar crane for Sanmen 1 (Image: Westinghouse)

President of Westinghouse Asia Jack Allen commented: "China has a fast-growing economy and a dramatic need for more electricity generation. Clean, safe, reliable nuclear power will be an important source of that electricity, and this arrangement enables us to provide close-to-the-customer solutions and support for crane component and fuel-handing equipment needs."

In September 2009, PaR Nuclear formed a joint venture in the USA with Hutchinson Manufacturing to fabricate, assemble and test specialty cranes for nuclear power plants, including Westinghouse's AP1000. That company - called NuCrane Manufacturing - shipped the first AP1000 polar crane in August 2011 to the construction site of the lead AP1000 unit at Sanmen in Zhejiang province. In addition, PaR Nuclear is to supply refuelling equipment to a second AP1000 unit under construction at Sanmen, as well as two other AP1000s being built at the Haiyang site in Shandong province. All these are scheduled to begin operating between November 2013 and March 2015.

PaR Nuclear president Bill Burns noted, "There is a large, nuclear-specific market for crane components, fuel-handing equipment, spare parts, and outage and installation services in China."

Westinghouse acquired a controlling 81% stake in PaR Nuclear in May 2004 and by July 2006 it had completed the purchase of the remainder of the business. PaR Nuclear currently provides all types and sizes of nuclear plant cranes, but has particular expertise and experience in outage-critical cranes, whose performance has the potential to impact outage duration. These typically include polar and reactor building cranes, cask-handling cranes and turbine cranes.

Polar cranes operate on circular rails, and are used in pressurized water reactors to lift reactor vessel heads, internals, and a multitude of lighter loads during refuelling outages. In some plants the polar crane is also used to lift the reactor vessel itself and the steam generators during construction. The AP1000 polar crane has a main hoist capacity of 300 tonnes and an auxiliary hoist rated at 25 tonnes. The bridge has a rated capacity of 800 tonnes to enable it to support special construction lifting equipment if necessary. The AP1000 polar crane is almost 38 metres long, 13.5 metres wide, and weighs more than 450 tonnes.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News