By Robert Gee, President, Gee Strategies Group LLC
Our final day concluded with a tour of the front end, heavy industrial manufacturing process for nuclear industry components such as stainless steel reactor vessels and steam generators. It was amazing to watch how automobile scrap was melted and forged into massive ingots used to make these components. We stood in the center of Creusot Forge, a forging company whose origins are almost as old as the United States, feeling the searing heat emanating from freshly poured steel ingots. We saw how these forged ingots are converted and machined into actual components, calibrated to meet the design specifications of a specific nuclear plant. Last, we saw how these heavy components are assembled and finalized for shipment by barge to international markets.
While manufacturing stainless steel components is – at least in my mind — hardly “rocket science”, in this instance it probably is, given the need to ensure component integrity and durability for an industry as this which requires that parts and assembly be “fail safe”. At times, I thought I was viewing the manufacture and assembly of space craft. (A finished nuclear reactor vessel looks remarkably like part of a booster rocket.) Further validating the notion of needed perfection (or close to it), we learned that these types of forging and assembly operations are very limited worldwide. I couldn’t help but be impressed by the fact that I was given a peak at a manufacturing process so relatively few have been given an opportunity to witness. This was a fitting conclusion for our weeklong tour of end-to-end manufacturing and operations of AREVA.
Tweet TAGS: Chalon Saint Marcel, Creusot Forge
Posted in: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power Plants | 2 Comments»