The scope of Sandvik’s specialist manufacturing capability for steel tubes for the power generation industry has resulted in a major order for British Nuclear Fuels’ reprocessing plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, UK.
The order, worth in excess of £400K, is for high purity, 18/10/L, Nitric Acid grade stainless steel tubes in a range of sizes from ½” to 6” nominal bore for a heat exchanger type application. Key to obtaining the order was Sandvik’s track record in producing tubes for nuclear use and its total control of the manufacturing process, from steel melt to the finished product.
Steel is specially melted for nuclear applications to ensure its high purity. Strict quality control and inspection routines are followed at every stage of the tube manufacturing process.
Sandvik’s track record of supplying the nuclear industry extends over more than 30 years as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of the steam generator tubes used in nuclear processing. In that time, more than 30,000 kilometers of tubes have been produced for nuclear plants in 20 countries around the world. Tube production is in a mill, specially designed for producing long length U-bent steam generator tubes. This also allows for tube finishing and packing to be completed to the high cleanliness and nuclear tube quality standards demanded by the industry and customer specifications.
Also in Sandvik’s nuclear tube programme are feedwater heater tubes used in the power generation process in both nuclear power and fossil fuel fired stations.
Whilst the materials commonly used for this application are copper alloys, carbon steel and type 304 stainless steel, Sandvik’s duplex stainless steel Sandvik SAF 2304, is available as an alternative, offering strength and corrosion resisting advantages.
In an application in a fossil fuel fired power station in the USA, Sandvik SAF 2304 tubes have been used successfully as a replacement for carbon material and, because of its higher strength, has allowed a tube wall thickness reduction of approximately 40%. In a nuclear power application in Sweden, Sandvik SAF 2304 has again been used successfully to replace carbon tubes, which failed frequently due to steam erosion.
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