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Westinghouse & KNF launch JV to Make Equipment

KNFWestinghouse Electric Co has signed a joint venture agreement with Korea Nuclear Fuel Co (KNF) to manufacture control element assemblies (CEAs) for Combustion Engineering-designed nuclear power plants..

in the USA and South Korea. The terms of the joint venture agreement indicates Westinghouse will hold a 55 prcent stake in the joint venture and KNF will own 45 percent. The new company – KW Nuclear Components Co (KWN) – will be located at the KNF fuel fabrication plant in Daejeon.
In nuclear reactors, control rods are inserted into or removed from guide tubes within a fuel element in order to control the neutron flux – that is, to increase or decrease the number of neutrons which will split further uranium atoms. This in turn affects the thermal power of the reactor, the amount of steam generated, and hence the electricity produced. A control element assembly (CEA) is a cluster of control rods which are moved by a single drive mechanism.

South Korea has a number of pressurized water reactors (PWR) plants (of the OPR1000 and APR1400 designs) supplied by Combustion Engineering and is currently constructing six further units, including the Shin Kori 3 and 4 APR1400 reactors. Shin Kori 4 is expected to be the first unit to utilize CEAs manufactured by the joint venture.

Joe Belechak, senior vice president of Westinghouse’s nuclear fuel division, said that the joint venture will enhance Westinghouse’s presence in South Korea and will continue to foster the relationship between Westinghouse and KNF. He commented: “As the construction of OPR1000 and APR1400 nuclear power plants continues to grow in the Republic of Korea, this joint venture will enable our valued customer, KNF, to further improve the efficiency of their manufacturing operations.”

Ik Hwan Lee, president and CEO of KNF, said that the collaboration between Westinghouse and KNF will be reinforced in supplying CEAs to utilities in the USA and South Korea.

KNF is over 96 percent owned by Korea Electric Power Corp (Kepco). It is the supplier for pressurized water reactors (PWR) fuels and Candu fuels in Korea. KNF performs the initial core design and reload core design, including the safety analysis, and has also been developing an advanced fuel called X-Gen.

South Korea employs 20 nuclear reactors to generate 40 percent of its electricity. All the nuclear fuel for Korea’s power reactors is manufactured by KNF.