Largest-ever last-stage blade for Hinkley Point C

16 March 2021

GE Steam Power reports that it has successfully designed, manufactured and tested the first low pressure rotor equipped with a last-stage blade that is at 75 inches the largest ever made, for an Arabelle steam turbine destined for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant under construction in the UK.

The fully assembled low pressure rotor was extensively tested at GE’s factory in Belfort, France. a balancing pit specifically designed for large turbines, the 8–metre wide bladed module rotated at a speed of 1500 rpm, a similar speed to that expected at future site conditions.  An EDF Energy inspector, present at the factory, signed off on the successful quality and reliability test. The low pressure rotor is set to be shipped from Belfort factory to Hinkley Point C site during 2021.

"This major turbine part is a first quarter 2021 milestone for Hinkley Point C achieved on time, despite the pandemic” said Guillaume Callewaert, EDF HPC programme director, “This large component will be delivered to site and support the mechanical and electrical ramp-up phase of our project in the coming months.”

As part of its contract for the engineering, procurement, and commissioning of the two conventional islands for Hinkley Point C, GE Steam Power is in the process of manufacturing and delivering critical equipment including the Arabelle steam turbine and generators.

The significance of longer last stage blades is that they increase the efficiency of a steam turbine and allow further optimised backpressure, ultimately contributing to greater power output from the nuclear power plant.

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