Westinghouse: meeting the needs of a rapidly-changing nuclear power business

08:58, January 19, 2011      

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Log onto zhaopin.com, one major human resources portal in China, you can easily find recruiting advertisements by Westinghouse Electric Company (Westinghouse), on which the US-based nuclear power developer offers a number of jobs in the country.

The company is making continuous efforts to find more talent in China to fuel its development, said Liu Xingang, vice-president of Westinghouse, adding that the move came after the company signed its milestone deal with Chinese partners in 2007.

China finalized an agreement with Westinghouse to use its AP1000 technology to build four third-generation reactors in the country, two in Sanmen, Zhejiang province, and two in Haiyang, Shandong province.

China is the first country to use the AP1000 technology for commercial nuclear projects. AP1000 is an innovative passively safe reactor design that uses natural cooling, evaporation and condensation for greater safety.

This design makes for a smaller, simpler, easier-to-build plant, one that is less expensive to operate than other modern Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) plants.

In the US, the AP1000 design has been selected as the choice for more than half of the new plants announced.

"Our advanced technology will help China's nuclear sector to go forward," said Liu, who is also the managing director of Westinghouse China. "We will help provide future generations with safe, clean and reliable electricity."

He said that Westinghouse is fully committed to project success in China and promises 24/7 support in the construction work.

The company is also providing all-round technology transfer in the construction work, he said, explaining that it has handed over some 88,000 documents to Chinese customers as part of technology transfer agreements.

Work on the four AP1000 reactors is progressing well on schedule. Sanmen's Unit 1 will be the first to begin operating, which is scheduled for 2013, with each unit thereafter subsequently coming online approximately six months later.

All reactors have achieved scheduled construction milestones so far. The CA01 module of the number 2 reactor at Sanmen project was successfully installed on December 27, 2010, which marked the 18th and final milestone in the construction process of four reactors last year.

Westinghouse, working in conjunction with EMD, a business unit of Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Company (CWFC), is also on schedule to deliver the world's largest canned motor reactor coolant pumps (RCPs) for use in the AP1000 nuclear power plant.

The AP1000 RCPs are high-inertia pumps that are highly reliable, low maintenance, hermetically sealed canned-motor pumps, which circulate the reactor coolant through the reactor core, loop piping and steam generators. They are good for 60 years of operation.

The AP1000 RCPs are the 9th generation product EMD has designed and manufactured. EMD is the world's premier designer/builder of reactor coolant pumps, having delivered 1,500 similar pumps before. In the past 40 years, CWFC has successfully developed 8th generation canned RCPs for specific, unique applications.

The rapid growth of China's nuclear power industry has provided Westinghouse with some great opportunities, according to Liu. Nuclear power capacity in the country is expected to somewhere between 70,000 and 80,000 megawatts (MW) in 2020, compared with around 10,000 MW now.

In June 2010, the company announced a new organizational structure designed with a regional approach to business as well as four individual product lines.

Westinghouse's President and CEO, Aris S. Candris, in making this announcement, explained it is the result of two years of analysis to ensure that Westinghouse is prepared to meet the needs of the growing, rapidly-changing commercial nuclear energy industry.

"In early 2008, we began to prepare our business for the global growth opportunities that we knew the future held - a future in which nuclear power would emerge as a preferred source to meet the world's increasing demand for clean energy," he said. "We realized that while the current Westinghouse organizational structure and business processes had served us well, to achieve our full potential, we needed to transform our company."

Westinghouse established three regional organizations: Europe, Asia and the Americas. Each will be responsible for customer relationships, business development, and project and product delivery in that region. The Asia region was launched in October last year.

Source: China Daily
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