Sumitomo Metals boosts tube output

12 April 2010

Sumitomo Metal Industries of Japan has announced a project to almost triple its production capacity at its Amagasaki plant for steel steam generator (SG) tubes for use in pressurized water reactors. The two other manufacturers of such tubing announced capacity increases last year.


Amagasaki plant (Sumitomo Metals)
The vast Amagasaki site (Image: Sumitomo Metals)
The company will invest some 14 billion yen ($150 million) to increase capacity at its Steel Tube Works in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, by some 2.7 times its actual production in fiscal 2008. The major areas of capacity expansion will include a cold working facility, a finishing facility and an inspection facility. Increased production is scheduled to start in April 2013.


The company claims that it has been receiving the bulk of orders for steam generator tubes to be used in third generation nuclear power plants, including those for two Westinghouse AP1000 units planned at the Vogtle site in Georgia, USA. Sumitomo Metals said, "We expect to continue receiving orders from the USA, China, South Korea and other countries for SG tubes to be manufactured in and after 2013, as our production schedule is tight up to 2012."


Sumitomo Metals is one of only three suppliers worldwide of steam generator tubes, the others being Sweden's Sandvik and France's Vallourec.


In March 2009, Vallourec announced that it will spend some €80 million ($104 million) to expand capacities at two tube production sites in France and one in the USA. Valinox Nucléaire will more than double the annual production capacity at its plant in Montbard, France, from the current 1800 kilometres of tubes to 4500 km in 2011. The plant produces stainless steel and nickel alloy tubes for steam generators for nuclear power plants. Meanwhile, Valtimet - in which Vallourec owns a 95% stake - will raise capacity for welded titanium and stainless steel tubes for secondary circuits for nuclear power plants. The company will double capacity at its plants in Venarey-les-Laumes, France, and Brunswick, Georgia, USA.


Vallourec has received several orders over the past few years, particularly for new reactors in China. It will also supply steam generator tubing for the first French EPR, under construction at Flamanville, as well as nickel alloy steam generator tubes for the first EPR to be built in China, at Taishan.


In mid-2009, Sandvik announced that it had signed a long-term contract to supply steam generator tubes to Areva for use in nuclear power plants all over the world. Deliveries under the $257 million contract are due to begin in 2013.


The order followed Sandvik's announcement earlier last year of an expansion of production capacity for high-alloy steam generator tubes to cater for growing demand from the nuclear power industry. The first phase of the capacity expansion at the Sandviken plant is scheduled to go on stream at the beginning of 2010.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News