Contract for Hinkley Point C reactor internals

13 July 2018

Škoda JS of the Czech Republic will manufacture and supply two sets of EPR reactor pressure vessel internals for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project in the UK under a contract signed with France's Framatome. The contract - the value of which was not disclosed - includes the core basket, heavy reflector and the upper internals.

Hinkley Point C artist impression (EDF Energy)

The core basket is a welded and machined stainless steel structure designed for holding the reactor core. The component - weighing about 80 tonnes - also directs and regulates the distribution of coolant into the reactor core. The heavy reflector, weighing about 100 tonnes, is a stainless steel component consisting machined slabs with cooling apertures. It serves as a neutron reflector. The upper internals consist a welded structure with guide tubes for the control rods. It weighs some 80 tonnes.

"The concluded contract concurs with similar supplies by Škoda JS to its French partners for nuclear power plant construction projects in Finland and China," the Czech engineering company said on 10 July. In 2010, Škoda JS supplied the core basket, heavy reflector and the upper internals for use in the EPR at Olkiluoto, Finland. In 2012, it supplied the same components for the Taishan 1 EPR in China.

Škoda JS has also supplied other components for use at EPR units, including a reactor pressure vessel support ring, a reactor internals handling machine and a used fuel cask transfer machine.

"Last year Škoda JS executed 68% of its revenues in export, by which it confirms its position as a major supplier for the nuclear power industry," said Vladimir Poklop, chairman and general director of Škoda JS. "There has been long-term cooperation established with our French partners and we are proud to have retained our position within their supply chain again."

On 29 June, Taishan 1 became the world's first EPR to achieve grid connection and power generation. It is expected to enter commercial operation later this year. Taishan 2 - which is in the equipment installation phase - is scheduled to begin operating next year. Olkiluoto 3, the first-of-a-kind EPR, has completed hot functional tests and is preparing to load fuel, while fuel loading at the Flamanville EPR is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

Under a deal agreed in October 2015, China General Nuclear will take a 33.5% stake in EDF Energy's project to construct Hinkley Point C, in Somerset, England. Consisting of two EPRs, it will be the first new nuclear power station to be built in the UK in almost 20 years and will provide about 7% of that country's electricity.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News