Just as a flood starts with a single raindrop, so a piece of steel can help start the US nuclear resurgence – although this particular piece of steel, measuring more than 13 feet tall by25 feet wide, and weighing more than 63 tons, is a bit more impressive than a raindrop.
This casting is shown in the photo below at Alstom ’s newly renovated -$300 million- turbine generator manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Here it will be machined and finished to become a vital part of one of the largest and most powerful turbine-generator trains in the world.
Like most parts of the turbine, generator, condenser, and moisture-separator-reheater, the casing is being delivered in “rough” form for finishing and manufacturing at Alstom’s new Chattanooga facility. The facility, previously used by Combustion Engineering, the nuclear steam system supplier for Calvert Cliffs Units 1 and 2, represents in a significant way what the US EPR™ represents – a source of American jobs, American ability, and, most importantly, American energy independence.
As the construction of the previous generation of nuclear plants ended, so too did many American jobs. While nuclear energy construction stagnated in the United States, other countries took US ideas and US plans and created their own nuclear construction and engineering industries, creating jobs, building plants, and discovering their own energy independence. Today, starting with one 63-ton hunk of steel, UniStar is committed to bringing that expertise, those jobs, and our energy future back home. As an example, the US EPR™ at Calvert Cliffs will create 4,000 construction jobs (at peak), 400 permanent jobs, and generate annually $430 million in sales of goods and services to the local community.
The US EPR™ represents even more, though. Our key suppliers, Alstom SA and Areva NP, are both supporting the US EPR™ with significant investments in US manufacturing – Areva’s creation of a new manufacturing facility in Newport News, VA, and Alstom’s revitalization of an abandoned facility in Chattanooga, TN. UniStar’s deployment of the US EPR™ is demonstrating the significant benefits new nuclear can bring to the United States: real benefits like an increase in highly-paid, highly skilled jobs, expanded domestic manufacturing, and an increased tax base. Coupled with providing a more secure energy future and nuclear energy’s benefit of not generating greenhouse gases, the arrival of the IP turbine casing marks a watershed moment for the United States’ nuclear renaissance. All starting with just one piece of steel.