Links for the supply chain

01 April 2010

Japan Steel Works (JSW) has completed its second press for ultra-large nuclear forgings, while Rolls-Royce and Larsen & Toubro will collaborate on instrumentation.


JSW 14,000 tonnes press
One shiny new 14,000 tonne
press for nuclear components
Known as a leader in the ultra-heavy forgings required for the highest capacity nuclear reactors, Japan Steel Works set about tripling its capacity in 2008. It has now completed the ¥50 billion ($530 million) first phase of the expansion with the installation of a new forging shop complete with heavy cranes, heat treatment facilities and the all-important 14,000 tonne press. It joins another 14,000 tonne machine, several smaller ones and a 12,000 tonne pipe-forming press at the Muroran plant on Hokkaido.


JSW told World Nuclear News that the new shop was the core of the first investment phase and that the second ¥30 billion ($320 million) investment round should be completed in 2011. At that point, JSW said, it would have triple the nuclear capability that it had in 2007 - enough for about 12 reactor pressure vessels and main component sets per year.


The increase in capacity should be felt by mid-2012 as new components emerge from the factories. Muroran also manufactures generator and steam turbine rotor shafts, clad steel plates and turbine casings for nuclear power plants.


While JSW may be the current leader in the global market for large nuclear components, there are several other manufacturers tooling up to the same levels for domestic supply. Russian and Chinese suppliers will meet the needs of domestic markets, while South Korean industry provides components internationally and will possess a big enough press for the largest parts in 2013. Britain's Sheffield Forgemasters and India's Bharat Forge will join JSW as global ultra-heavy suppliers around 2014 while India's Larsen & Toubro may also join the market.


New players link


Today also saw an announcement from Larsen & Toubro and Rolls-Royce that they are to collaborate. A memorandum of understanding between the two covered "nuclear instrumentation and control, engineered products and systems, reactor components, engineering services, in-service reactor support and waste management."


The first products for the duo will be in the instrumentation and control sector, which should "bridge the gap in the existing supply chain in support of India's ambitious new build program." Overall, their work together should "effectively address the projected need for light-water reactors in India and internationally."


In addition to 19 indigenous reactors under operation and 12 more planned, Indian leaders hope to import up to 28 large reactor designs from various vendors in coming years.


Rolls-Royce has long been the supplier of small pressurized water reactors for the UK's naval submarine fleet, while Larsen & Toubro have been significant players in India's formerly indigenous nuclear industry. In 2008 Rolls-Royce made a strong move into the civil nuclear sector, while changes in international trade rules have allowed Indian firms to enter into global nuclear trade.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News


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