Japan Steel Works (JSW) announced it will triple its capacity for manufacturing heavy forged components for nuclear power plants by mid-2012. The announcement follows an agreement with Areva to supply large forged parts until at least 2016. At JSW’s Muroran plant on Hokkaido, it has 3,000- to 14,000-metric-ton hydraulic forging presses, the latter able to take 600-metric-ton steel ingots, and a 12,000-metric-ton pipe-forming press. Its capacity is presently only four reactor pressure vessels and associated components per year, but this is set to triple to 12 by mid-2012. A $523 million expansion is under way to mid-2011, and a second phase of $314 million will be completed the following year.

According to Areva, the agreement – along with its own capacity and other partnerships – will secure its supplies of large components for the five to six nuclear plants per year it expects to build. JSW claims 80% of the world market for large forged components for nuclear plants, steam generators and turbine shafts. It has supplied the pressure vessels for the first two 1,650 MWe Areva EPR plants under construction in France and Finland.