ENSA to Manufacture Pressure Vessels for New Nuclear Power Plants

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced a strategic agreement naming Spanish manufacturer Equipos Nucleares SA (ENSA) as a key supplier of reactor pressure vessel (RPV) fabrication for new nuclear power plants.

The agreement strengthens GEH's global supply chain and ensures it will have substantial RPV production capacity to meet customer needs.

ENSA specializes in manufacturing heavy components for nuclear plants and industrial facilities, including the nuclear steam supply system of nuclear reactors. ENSA operates a modern facility in Maliaño (Cantabria), on the northern coast of Spain.

Building on the strengths of both companies, GEH and ENSA will collaborate under the new agreement on RPVs for certain Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) power plant opportunities. Inside a nuclear plant, the RPV safely houses the reactor core and coolant.

GEH offers customers both the ABWR and ESBWR reactor designs to meet the world's converging needs to increase energy supply and help address climate change. Nuclear energy is a baseload source of electricity that does not create greenhouse gases in the energy-generation process.

"We are pleased to count Equipos Nucleares as a key supplier for GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy," said Danny Roderick, GEH Senior Vice President, Nuclear Plant Projects. "This strategic agreement adds to GEH's existing supply chain and allows us to support the demand we foresee in the near future."

In February 2009, Japan Steel Works supplied ENSA with the first of six forgings required to fabricate one ESBWR reactor pressure vessel. ENSA anticipates completing the RPV manufacturing process by mid-2012.

The beginning of the manufacturing process marks a milestone in the deployment of the ESBWR, a Generation III+ reactor design undergoing design certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

"ENSA is fully committed to supplying quality components to the industry," said Francisco Ballesteros, President and CEO of ENSA. "The agreement with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy reinforces ENSA's position as a world leader both in quality and schedule compliance, key factors critical to the success of the global nuclear renaissance."

ENSA employs state-of-the-art quality methodologies to meet the requirements of GEH, the NRC and utility owners. Since 1978, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has classified ENSA as an approved manufacturer.

ENSA has developed rigorous fabrication processes and techniques, including robotics and automatic processes, to assure delivery of high-quality components. ENSA also has defined the facilities and equipment needed to fabricate GEH's two RPV types. To deliver these large components, ENSA is upgrading its facilities, including increasing crane capacity from 900 to 1,300 tons and radiographic testing capacity from eight to nine million electron volts, while enlarging related systems and equipment.

In addition to deploying the ESBWR, GEH notified the NRC in December that the company intends to renew its design certification for the ABWR for an additional 15 years beyond 2012. The ABWR is the world's first and only Generation III advanced reactor design with proven construction and operating experience. The move signalled GEH's ongoing commitment to ABWR technology for customers in the United States and around the globe.

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