Alstom expands turbine production

25 June 2010

France's Alstom has opened a new $300 million turbine manufacturing facility in Tennessee to supply turbines for use in North American power plants. The company is also reported to be close to a joint venture agreement with Indian partners. 


The new US facility, in Chattanooga, will supply steam turbines, gas turbines, large turbo generators and related equipment for fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. In addition, it will contribute to retrofit jobs to improve performance of existing turbines.


Chattanooga turbine plant (Alstom)
Inside Alstom's new Chattanooga turbine plant (Image: Alstom) 


Alstom said that the new facility is equipped with balancing equipment to allow the manufacture of its 'Arabelle' 1700 MWe class nuclear steam turbines - the largest in the world. The turbo generator components will also be manufactured at the Chattanooga plant. The Chattanooga site will work in close cooperation with its sister site in Morelia, Mexico, which will be responsible for manufacturing the diaphragms, blades and valves.


In a statement, Alstom said that the size of the new facility is "particularly relevant to the nuclear industry, both for retrofitting existing equipment to make it more efficient or building the equipment that will be needed for the next generation of power plants."


The Chattanooga facility features an on-site barge dock with a lifting capacity of up to 1000 tonnes.


In November 2007, Alstom announced that it had been selected by UniStar Nuclear Energy (UNE) to supply at least four Arabelle half-speed turbine generators for UNE's planned fleet of nuclear power plants in the USA. The following month Alstom announced plans for the new Chattanooga plant in part for the work.


In mid-2008, US utility Exelon contracted Alstom to supply steam turbine retrofits at three of its nuclear power plant sites. The work would see two boiling water reactors at each of its Quad Cities, Dresden and Peach Bottom plants receive steam turbine retrofits. The $420 million project should result in about 240 MWe more power.


Alstom also operates turbine manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, Switzerland and China.


Philippe Joubert, president of Alstom Power, said: "Our new Chattanooga factory dramatically enhances Alstom's ability to build and retrofit power generation equipment for customers in North America and beyond." He added, "Coupled with Alstom's recent investments in carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and wind turbine production in the US, this unit represents another important step in executing our clean power strategy."


Indian venture 


Alstom is reported to be near a joint venture agreement with India's Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) to provide technical support and supply turbines for new nuclear power plants in India.


India's Economic Times newspaper cited Guy Chardon, senior vice president of Alstom Power, as saying: "The joint venture tripartite agreement with BHEL and NPCIL has been finalized and is being reviewed by the Atomic Energy Commission."


He said that the joint venture, in which Alstom would hold a 33% stake, would initially supply turbines for eight 700 MWe pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) being developed by NPCIL. The value of the supplies is likely to be some $1.3 billion, Chardon added. The venture would later be expanded to supply other nuclear power plant projects in India.


The turbines for the NPCIL projects, according to Chardon, will be supplied from existing BHEL facilities and plants being constructed under a joint venture between Alstom and state-owned Bharat Forge at Mundra, Gujarat state.


Researched and written
y World Nuclear News