Japan Steel Works prepares for orders

16 May 2007

The company with a virtual monopoly on the heavy forgings required for nuclear power plants is increasing capacity in advance of orders.

Japan Steel Works (JSW) has hi-tech production and research bases in Hiroshima and Yokohama, and Muroran. The Muroran centre, in Hokkaido, hosts the heavy steel works and research laboratory relevant to power generation.

Muroran manufactures reactor pressurevessels, steam generator components, generator & turbine rotorshafts, clad steel plates and turbine casings for nuclear power plants.It also makes rotors, shafts and runners for hydroelectric power plantsand masts and blades for wind turbines.

JSW has been manufacturing forgings for nuclear plant components to US Nuclear Regulatory Commission standards since 1974, and around 130 JSW reactor pressure vessels are used around the world. However, many observers of the nuclear industry have noted that the prolonged global slowdown in nuclear build has resulted in a reduced global manufacturing capacity for specialised components. Furthermore, this reduced capacity could create a bottleneck in reactor construction.

Now, JSW has announced that it intends to invest 40 billion Yen ($166 million) over FY2007 and FY2008, up from 10 billion Yen in FY2006. The money will be spent across the entire JSW group, but the company has said one of its main targets would be to supply nuclear reactor pressure vessels to the Chinese and American markets.

In coming years, up to 31 new nuclear reactors could be ordered in the USA, and 25 in China. American companies have even made orders for heavy forgings in advance of commitments from customers to buy a reactor.

Further information

Japan Steel Works

WNA's The Nuclear Renaissance information paper

WNN: Plant components for Dominion