March 22, 2018

Business expansion of the Fuel business unit with technology transfer project in Kazakhstan

After a successful testing period by the end of last year and acceptance by the customer, the Lingen site (Germany, BU Fuel) is ready to ship a USW (Upset Shape Welding) machine*to Kazakhstan. This was part of an order for the BU Fuel to deliver some equipment for Ulba-FA, a fuel assembly manufacturing plant in Kazakhstan**.

Two other machines, the Vibrating Bench and the Gamma Scanner, are being finalized respectively by Romans site (France, BU Fuel) and Richland site (USA, BU Fuel) and will be shipped mid-2018 to Ulba-FA.

Thanks to this success, a follow-up contract has recently been signed with Ulba-FA for three additional items of equipment.

This new contract is a good opportunity for the Lingen site to expand its knowledge transfer and technology business. It also means good visibility in term of production load. Specifically, the three new ordered machines are:

  • a Helium Leak Detection Equipment. With this equipment the customer will be able to test the leak tightness of the fuel rods,
  • an Air-Blow-Down-Station. With this cleaning system, fuel elements are cleaned with air. This technology is already used in Romans, France,
  • various transfer-tables used to transport fuel rods from one equipment to another.

Jürgen Krämer, Manager of Lingen`s technology department underlined: “The follow-up orders from Kazakhstan are an important step towards reaching our targeted business expansion with Technology Transfer. Furthermore, these additional orders indicate that the customer is very satisfied with the first cooperation.”

The projects are starting immediately as Ulba-FA has requested very short lead times. OTD will be a challenge as the finalization and deliveries are expected by mid-2019.

Video - The Upset Shape Welding

  • *More information on USW - Upset Shape Welding

    The Upset Shape Welding is a qualified welding technique that produces the fusion of two surfaces by the heat obtained from resistance to electric current through the area where those surfaces are in contact. The USW equipment is a key element of the fuel rod manufacturing line. It ensures the tightness of the rods to be loaded into reactors.

    The equipment is essential for the overall success of Ulba-FA project and ultimately for safe reactor operation. Therefore, the customer expects high quality equipment and excellent reliability.

  • ** More information about Ulba-FA

    Ulba-FA is a joint venture composed of Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC (51%) (Kazatomprom’s subsidiary) and CGN-URC (49%) (subsidiary of CGNPC).

    Fuel Assembly production technology will be provided by Framatome. An agreement signed in March 2016 provides for a license for fuel fabrication technology and the supply of engineering documentation, key production equipment, components, personnel training and other services.

  • What is a Fuel Assembly ?

    Fuel assembly is the finished product to be used as fuel for nuclear power plants. The quality of FA fabrication is crucial as a FA is loaded into a reactor and will work under high temperatures and in an environment subject to radiation, for about 3 to 5 years.

    FA fabrication is a large-scale, highly automated, mechanical process and is divided into the following key stages: zirconium fuel elements fabrication; skeleton fabrication; rods and FA fabrication; FA storage; FA loading into containers and delivery.

    The uranium contained in these fuel assemblies will originate from uranium mines in Kazakhstan, which will have been further processed into fuel pellets manufactured in existing facilities at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant.