AREVA delivers vessel head to Tihange nuclear power plant

AREVA announced on Tuesday that a vessel head was delivered last week to the Tihange nuclear power plant in Belgium.

The stainless steel component weighs over 60 metric tons and will be installed during reactor outage maintenance operations.

The reactor vessel head acts as a protective barrier to the fuel located in the pressure vessel. The component has openings for the control rod drive mechanisms to pass in order and regulate the nuclear reaction as part of electricity generation.

“The delivery of the reactor vessel head to the Tihange nuclear power plant is an important milestone for this project and marks the culmination of over three years of work by the teams to meet the requirements of our customer ELECTRABEL,” Patrick Poret, director of AREVA's heavy equipment production line, said. 

Multiple areas of AREVA’s expertise and several industrial facilities were involved in manufacturing and assembling the vessel head. It was machined at Le Creusot and assembled and welded at Chalon Saint-Marcel. The component left the factory on Jan. 26 and was transported to Tihange, where the control rod drive mechanisms were welded onto the vessel head.

The AREVA services teams from Chalon will mount the assembled head onto the reactor vessel body at a later stage. Inspection and verification operations will commence after this final installation procedure.

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