Swiss Nuclear Plant Awards Westinghouse $35 Million Contract

After winning a contract two years ago to deliver replacement reactor vessel heads to a Swiss nuclear plant, Westinghouse on Wednesday announced a second contract to perform their installation.

Valued at $35 million, according to a Westinghouse release, the work will take place on both 730 megawatt pressurized water reactors at Axpo AG’s Beznau nuclear plant Westinghousenorth of Zurich. During scheduled outages in 2014, Westinghouse crews will use plasma cutting to create an opening in each unit’s containment and then replace the heads, with the old equipment moved to a waste storage building on site. The work at each unit is expected to take about 40 days.

"We applaud Axpo's decision to proactively replace the heads, based on the experience of similar, structurally identical nuclear power plant components," Westinghouse’s Central Europe Managing Director Norbert Haspel said in the release. "We are so very pleased that this valued customer continues to rely on us to keep the Beznau plant – the first pressurized water reactors in Switzerland – operating safely and efficiently."

The announcement by Westinghouse, a Toshiba subsidiary, is welcome good news to the nuclear industry in Switzerland, where the government announced in May that it will phase out the country’s reactors by 2034 as they reach the end of their design lives.

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