Another milestone has been passed in the construction of the first EPR reactor at Olkiluoto in Finland, with the installation of all four of the plant's steam generators.
|A steam generator is lifted into place at Olkiluoto 3 (Image: Areva)
Installation of the steam generators began in mid-November 2010. The last one was lowered into place on 31 January, reactor builder Areva and customer TVO have announced. The installation operation required each 550 tonne steam generator to be lifted 19.5 m above the ground inside the fuel building before being introduced horizontally into the reactor building. Once in the reactor building, each generator had to be lifted to a vertical position and then lowered into place. Each component took three days to install.
Steam generators are massive components - Olkiluoto 3's are 25 m long and over 5 m in diameter - which transfer heat from the reactor coolant into water in a secondary circuit to produce the steam used to power the electricity-generating turbines. They were manufactured at Areva's Chalon/St Marcel plant and transported by sea from the port of Fos-sur-Mer in southern France to Rauma in Finland.
Olkiluoto 3 project director Jean-Pierre Mouroux said the achievement marked the end of a "decisive stage" in the first-of-a-kind construction project. "The installation of the steam generators is a remarkable feat by the teams installing the reactor coolant system for the world's first EPR," he said. Experience gained at Olkiluoto is directly transferrable to the other EPRs currently under construction at Flamanville in France and Taishan in China.
Olkiluoto 3 is currently expected to start up towards the end of 2012, with grid connection expected in 2013.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News