Switzerland-based GE Steam Power
has designed, manufactured and tested the Arabelle steam turbine’s first low-pressure rotor equipped with the largest last-stage blade (LSB) ever made – at 75in.
It was thoroughly tested at GE’s factory in Belfort, France, where it was inserted into a balancing pit specifically designed for large turbines; the 8m wide bladed module rotated at a speed of 1,500 revolutions per min, similar to the future site conditions.
An EDF Energy inspector, present at the factory, signed off on the successful quality and reliability test. The low pressure rotor is set to be shipped from Belfort factory to Hinkley Point C in 2021.
Guillaume Callewaert, EDF HPC Programme director, said: “This major turbine part is a first quarter 2021 milestone for Hinkley Point C achieved on time, despite the pandemic. It illustrates the scale of what we are doing for this project and our commitment to net-zero energy to fight against climate change. This large component will be delivered to site and support the mechanical and electrical ramp-up phase of our project in the coming months.”
As part of its contract for the engineering, procurement, and commissioning of the two conventional islands for Hinkley Point C, GE Steam Power is in the process of manufacturing and delivering critical equipment including the Arabelle steam turbine and generators.
EDF Energy, the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity, is at the forefront of the new nuclear power plant development in the country, including Hinkley Point C (HPC) featuring two EPR reactors.
Last-stage blades are part of the low-pressure module in a steam turbine generator which converts steam into electricity in a nuclear power plant. Longer blades increase efficiency of a steam turbine and allow to further optimised back-pressure – all of which contribute to greater power output from the nuclear power plant.
Frédéric Wiscart, GE Steam Power senior executive of projects, said: “Hinkley Point C is key to the UK’s energy strategy to reduce the power industry emissions. Once completed, it will deliver 3.2GW of dependable, CO2
-free electricity to the grid for the next 60 years. At GE Steam Power, we are proud to play our part in such an important project.”