Key component built in France by Framatome The RPV is the high strength steel cylinder that contains the nuclear fuel and the chain reaction needed to make heat. Courtesy EDF. The reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for the first nuclear reactor built for a British power station in more than 30-years is complete and ready for delivery to Hinkley Point C in Somerset, southwest England.

The RPV is the high strength steel cylinder that contains the nuclear fuel and the chain reaction needed to make heat. The heat is used to create high pressure steam for the world’s largest turbines. EDF Energy said teams have spent 80,000 engineering hours on its construction.

At 13m long and weighing in at 500 tonnes, each of two RPVs at Hinkley Point C will help power around three million British homes. The plants are designed to run continuously for 18 months at a time between refuelling.

The RPV has been built by France by Framatome, the same nuclear engineering company which built Britain’s last nuclear reactor, at Sizewell B in 1991. Since it went into operation in 1995, that reactor has provided 247 TWh of electricity, enough to power every home in Britain for two-and-a-half years.

The centre of the Hinkley Point C reactor will have an average temperature of around 300°C and can withstand five times more pressure than a submarine at normal operating depths.

The building which will house the reactor is also taking shape in Somerset. Earlier this week, Big Carl, the world’s largest crane, lifted the final 11.6-metre prefabricated steel ring into place on Unit 1.

French state energy company EDF is building two EPR units at Hinkley Point C. In May EDF said the facility will start operating a year later than planned and will cost an extra £3bn (€3.4bn).

The two units are the only commercial nuclear plants being built in the UK. EDF’s share in the project is 66.5% with China General Nuclear (CGN) holding 33.5%.

Last month the UK government confirmed the Sizewell C nuclear power plant in Suffolk will go ahead, backing the scheme with a £700m stake and saying it wants to see more nuclear projects being prepared.

The RPV has been built by France by Framatome. Courtesy EDF.

Date: Tuesday, 20 December 2022
Original article: nucnet.org/news/first-reactor-pressure-vessel-complete-and-ready-for-delivery-12-5-2022