Contract for Texan ABWR pressure vessel

01 June 2010

Japanese engineering company IHI Corporation has been awarded a contract by Toshiba to produce the reactor pressure vessel for the first Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) to be built in the USA.


STP 3 and 4 (STPNOC)

How STP 3 and 4 could look (Image: STPNOC)

Under the contract, IHI will supply the reactor pressure vessel for the first of two ABWRs planned at the South Texas Project (STP). The contract, the value of which has not been disclosed, was awarded by Toshiba's US subsidiary Toshiba America Nuclear Energy Corporation (TANE).


The reactor pressure vessel - about 20 metres tall and 7 metres wide and weighing some 900 tonnes - will be manufactured at IHI's plant in Yokohama. It is scheduled to be delivered to the STP site in 2012. STP unit 3 is set to begin operation in FY2016.


In March 2008, Toshiba was selected by NRG and CPS Energy to be the prime contractor for the development of STP units 3 and 4. The company signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with STP Nuclear Operating Co (STPNOC), operator of the STP plant, in February 2009 for two ABWRs at the site.


The ABWR design is already in use at Tokyo Electric Power Co's (Tepco's) Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, where two units started up in 1996 and 1997. Another is at Chubu Electric Power Company's Hamaoka site and two more are under construction at Lungmen on Taiwan.


The ABWR was developed jointly by GE, Toshiba and Hitachi, following on from GE's development of the BWR concept in the 1950s. The three firms partnered for build at Kashiwazaki Kariwa and Lungmen and now both GE-Hitachi (which merged their nuclear businesses in 2007) and Toshiba assert the right to build ABWRs. However, GE-Hitachi owns the very specific design certified for use in the USA by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).


In April, Toshiba and IHI signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the formation of a joint venture to manufacture steam turbine components for nuclear power plants at home and abroad. The new company - set to be launched in October 2010 - will be based at Yokohama, within IHI's Yokohama headquarters representatives office. It will manufacture casings and nozzles for steam turbines at new nuclear power plants for both pressurised water reactors (PWRs) and boiling water reactors (BWRs) for the domestic and overseas markets, as well as providing maintenance services for installed equipment.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News