More forgings for USEPR

25 July 2007

Areva has agreed with AmerenUE to procure heavy forgings for a potential new nuclear plant. The utility has said that it has not yet decided to build.

"Let me stress that this order does not represent a decision to build a new nuclear power plant," said Chuck Naslund, AmerenUE's sevior Vice President and chief nuclear officer. "We are simply preserving the option to do so."

Areva has described the order it plans to make as concerning the "second set of heavy forgings that could be used in the first potential... US Evolutionary Power Reactor (USEPR)."

The news follows a previous Areva announcement, of early July, revealing that the forgings from an initial order had begun arriving at its Chalon-St Marcel factory. Those forgings were for the steam generator tube sheets of a forthcoming USEPR, but the announcement did not reveal the potential user of the parts.

Areva said that because European-spec EPRs were already under construction in Finland and France the company had "sufficiently completed detailed design and construction-ready documents for successful procurement of high-quality, long-lead-time materials."

The differences between the European EPR and the USEPR variant primarily concern the power output frequencies of 60 Hz versus 50 Hz required by transmission grids. The designs of the main plant components are not affected. It would be possible for the owners of one set of components for a particular nuclear power plant design to sell those parts on to another company, should it decide not to go ahead with a new build project.  

With Japan Steel Works holding the position of the world's leading nuclear forging producer, and a waiting list of up to eight years, it is likely that many more forging orders will be made in coming months - even though much licensing work lies ahead for utilities and plant constructors.

UK industry observers have noted that companies thinking seriously about that market must soon consider joining the queue for forgings, even as the country completes a consultation on its recent energy white paper.

General Electric has also begun to purchase forgings for its ESBWR plant design on behalf of Dominion - another company yet to actually order a plant.

Further information

Areva

WNN: First USEPR forging arrives at Areva
WNN: Japan Steel Works Prepares for orders
WNN: Plant components for Dominion

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