Ground-breaking nuclear operation

09 Sep 2019

Tractebel and Endel won strategic contract batch for replacement of primary components for EDF’s nuclear power plants in France. A very high added-value operation that will mobilise expert teams over several phases until 2026.

A groundbreaking operation requiring meticulous preparation

In its strategy to continue operating its 900 MW power stations, EDF entrusted to a temporary joint-venture led by ENDEL and TRACTEBEL a contract batch for the replacement of several primary circuit components weighing between 3 and 7.5 tons, including pipes and pipe bends. This highly technical project will mobilise the teams of several ENGIE subsidiaries at the core of the power station. The replacement of the components will be staggered over several phases until 2026.

During the next three years, the first phase will be dedicated to all the generic studies and the Qualification of the Maintenance Operation. From 2022, the second stage of the operation will begin and will consist in the specific studies and the preparation for the interventions. Finally, starting in 2023, onsite interventions will begin. Each intervention will require 6 months’ work. The completion of this high-stakes projects, particularly in terms of safety, involves taking into account major physical and technical constraints, while securing unit shutdown periods.

The cutting-edge technologies deployed must meet geometric tolerances of 0.1 millimetres to position and weld these large parts.

A first integrated offer by ENGIE for such a complex intervention

ENGIE Group can rely on its many entities strategically positioned due to their nuclear business lines. Each of these entities demonstrates a wide range of skills, recognised both in France and abroad, in conducting complex operations, and has been supporting EDF with its safety challenges for many years. To meet all the requirements concerned, ENDEL and TRACTEBEL formed an integrated team with their partners.

Relying on their experience in the Qualification of Maintenance Operations and complex handling operations, ENDEL’s teams will oversee the project and will, in particular, conduct the welding operations for the primary component circuit, a rare skill in the sector.

Relying on the feedback from a similar operation conducted abroad, TRACTEBEL – which has been otherwise involved in the French nuclear sector for many years – will provide its know-how and expertise in the area of primary circuit engineering to the joint-venture. ENGIE Laborelec is an expert in electrical technologies that specialises in non-destructive testing operations in particular and will intervene during the study phase in order to design, develop and qualify a bespoke robotised solution. The aim is to have a cutting-edge technology able to shave welds and check areas inaccessible to any human intervention. TECNUBEL will develop the sealing solutions specific to the primary circuit and will proceed with the decontamination of this zone located at the core of the power station, another rare skill among energy services actors.

“We are proud of the trust shown by EDF to conduct this operation,” affirmed Emeric Burin des Roziers, CEO of ENDEL. “The great strength of our integrated joint-venture lies in how our internal expertise set and experiences complement each other. Our renowned respective experiences in the area of energy services now enable us to prepare the first replacement operation for primary components of this magnitude, excluding steam generator replacement. This acknowledgement is opening up great prospects for us.”  

“This cross-functional success of our ENGIE entities shows our ability, as a collective, to help our clients meet their major industrial challenges,” declared Olivier Biancarelli, Executive Vice President of ENGIE Group, in charge of TRACTEBEL, ENGIE Impact and the Customer Solutions Global Business Line. “Our TRACTEBEL nuclear engineering teams and ENDEL energy services teams, along with other Group entities, were able to convince EDF of their expertise to conduct these future high value-added interventions on the primary circuits of French nuclear power stations. The trust placed in us through this contract confirms our ability to meet the stringent requirements pertaining to our clients’ nuclear safety.”

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