Japan Steel Works to triple capacity

03 December 2008

Japan Steel Works (JSW) has announced that it will triple its capacity for manufacturing heavy forged components for nuclear power plants by mid-2012.

Shell flange - JSW 
A shell flange for a nuclear power plant (Image: JSW)
Having recently embarked upon a doubling of capacity by mid-2011, the new announcement follows an agreement with Areva to supply large forged parts until at least 2016. Areva has said that this, along with its own capacity and other partnerships, will secure its supplies of large components for the five to six nuclear plants per year it expects to build in the medium term. Areva has also acquired 1.3% equity in JSW.

JSW claims 80% of the world market for large forged components for nuclear plants, notably reactor pressure vessels, steam generators and turbine shafts. It has the distinction of supplying the pressure vessels for the first two 1650 MWe Areva EPR plants under construction in Finland and France.
At JSW's Muroran plant on Hokkaido it has 3000 to 14,000 tonne hydraulic forging presses, the latter able to take 600 tonne steel ingots, and a 12,000 tonne pipe-forming press. At present, its capacity is only four reactor pressure vessels and associated components per year, but this is set to triple to twelve by mid-2012. A ¥50 billion ($523 million) expansion is underway to mid-2011, and a second phase of ¥30 billion ($314 million) will be complete the following year. Muroran also manufactures steam generator components, generator and turbine rotor shafts, clad steel plates and turbine casings for nuclear power plants.

JSW has been manufacturing forgings for nuclear plant components to US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) standards since 1974, and around 130 JSW reactor pressure vessels are in service around the world. The company has said that one of its main targets is to supply nuclear reactor pressure vessels to the Chinese and American markets, and it has advance orders from GE-Hitachi for ABWR and ESBWR components, as well as Areva EPR pressure vessels. New orders are coming from China and the USA, as well as Europe, and more from Japan are expected.