Vallourec expands to meet tube demand

17 March 2009

Vallourec - a French manufacturer of seamless stainless steel tubes - is boosting its capacity to meet the growing needs of the nuclear power industry. The company has received several orders, particularly for new reactors in China.

Steam generator tubes (Valinox Nucleaire)
Steam generator tubing (Image: Valinox Nucleaire)
In a statement, Vallourec said that the "new-build market, combined with life extension of existing capacity, is creating strong demand for specific tubular components exceeding the available offer." The company has will invest €80 million ($104 million) to expand capacities at two tube production sites in France and one in the USA.
Valinox Nucléaire is to 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.
Valinox Nucléaire is head and founding member of the Burgundy Nuclear Partnership (Pôle Nucléaire Bourgogne, PNB), a group of over 100 companies active in research and development, education and component manufacturing for the nuclear sector.
Meanwhile, Valtimet - in which Vallourec owns a 95% stake - is to 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.
Orders flow in
Vallourec has received several orders recently from the nuclear power industry for its tubing products. The company received an order from Areva for the steam generator tubing of the first French EPR, under construction at Flamanville. Under the contract, the tubes were to be delivered by end of first half of 2008.
In February 2008, the company was also awarded a contract by Areva to manufacture the nickel alloy steam generator tubes for the first EPR which will be built in China, at Taishan. The tubes will be delivered by the end of 2009.
Meanwhile, between December 2008 and January 2009, the company received 11 orders for nuclear steam generator tubes (around 3100 km) for use in new Chinese nuclear power plants. Nine of the orders were for tubing for CPR1000 models and two for CNP600 units. Deliveries will spread over a period from end of 2010 to beginning of 2012.
These were in addition to earlier orders from China. In June 2008, order was received from Dong Fang Heavy Machinery (DFHM) for six steam generator tube bundles for the two units of Fuqing, while Shanghai Electric Nuclear Power Equipment Co awarded Vallourec a contract for three bundles for Fangjiashan. Together the nine bundles represent approximately 880 km of tubing. The tubes will be delivered in 2009 and 2010.