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Ensa successfully loads 4 casks in the ATI of the Ascó NPP

Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E successfully completed the loading of four spent fuel casks in Group I of the Ascó Nuclear Power Plant in Tarragona. The casks were duly positioned in the independent spent fuel storage installation of this plant.

Loading was carried out between February and May in collaboration with Enwesa S.A., S.M.E., a subsidiary of Ensa. The forecast for 2018 for the Ascó plant is to complete the load of 2 additional units in Group II foreseen for the third quarter of the year.

The main functionality of this system is the dry storage of the fuel in the plant. The Cantabrian Company has previously manufactured this type of containers for the same site and expects to participate in future loading campaigns for the Ascó y Vandellós Nuclear Association based on its experience and satisfactory results.

Ensa’s Advanced Technology Center designs an extendable lance for manual welding

The first tests have obtained very satisfactory results.

The Automatic unit of the Advanced Technology Centre of Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E has designed an extendable welding lance that allows reaching the most complicated and deepest areas of the components of the ITER project.

One of the fundamental points in the welding of these elements is the manual punching of the plates that join the components of «sectors and ports» that will later be welded by the robots. These components are double-walled and the work has to be carried out from the inside. The fact that they have double walls makes the access in a good part of the areas to the most external wall a tremendously difficult task due to the space that separates both walls.

The mast of the lance, designed by Automatic, can be modified in length and the torch has a ball-and-socket joint that allows the working angle of the tungsten to be adjusted slightly.  In addition, it has been incorporated a wire feeding system with adjustable position and speed and a camera next to a screen that allows to see the development of the weld during the work.

The first tests with the equipment were carried out on the welding of the first set of sheets of the ITER model and very satisfactory results were obtained.

Water tanks to quench ITER’s thirst

Four more water detritiation tanks have been delivered to ITER as part of its fuel cycle system. The components were the result of a contract signed between F4E and Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E to design, manufacture and deliver them to Cadarche. The works for their manufacture lasted approximately two years.

Two tanks known as «storage tanks», with capacity of 7 m3, will be used to store water. Two additional tanks known as «feed tanks», with capacity of 12 m3, will be used to feed the fuel cycle system with tritiated water. The four tanks will be installed next to the six water detritiation tanks, also manufactured by Ensa in 2015, being the first components in Europe delivered to ITER. The largest fusion device will have ten of these tanks in total to meet the needs of its fuel cycle.

Why do we need a water detritiation system at the ITER Tritium plant? This system is needed to recover the fuel to use it again in order to trigger a new fusion reaction. It works as follows: first, the two isotopes of hydrogen are supplied to the machine through the Tritium plant; second, when the two isotopes reach the core of the machine, they are heated to extremely high temperatures to fuse and release energy; finally, the remaining fuel from the fusion reaction, along with other gases, is pumped back to the ITER Tritium plant to recover the tritium and use it in a future reaction.

For Sofia Corino, Special Projects Manager for Ensa in the Business Development Division: «Ensa, in cooperation with its subsidiary, ENWESA, has been responsible for the design and manufacture of the four additional water detritiation tanks that will form part of ITER’s fuel cycle system. Ensa’s experience and commitment to innovation have been decisive in consolidating it as one of the leading European component manufacturers for the largest fusion energy project».

Ensa starts the welding work for the assembly of the vacuum vessel mockup of the ITER

Ensa has started with the official welding work on the 1:1 scale model representing the union between two sectors of the vacuum chamber of the nuclear fusion reactor that the ITER consortium will build at the Cadarache facilities – France.

This work represents the beginning of the validation process of the numerous equipment, systems and procedures that have been developed over the last 5 years.

The activities are part of the first of the three phases of the project, which is expected to be completed by the middle of the next decade.

The ITER project is undoubtedly the most ambitious global research project, linked to demonstrating the technical feasibility of commercial nuclear fusion on Earth.

F4E highlights Ensa as a pillar in the scheme of companies for the manufacture of Vacuum Vessel

Ensa has participated in a video made by Fusion for Energy , the European Union organization set up to manage Europe’s contribution to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor , which shows the capabilities and contribution of the different European companies currently in different fields in of the design and manufacture of the largest international project for the development of fusion energy.

As the video explains, Ensa’s activity is mainly focused on two work packages: the manufacture of segments for the vacuum vessel sectors and the development of technology for the assembly, as well as the final welding of the reactor sectors in on site.

The sector segments that Ensa is manufacturing for the first order are called PS1 and PS4. The Cantabrian company is responsible for developing the technology, manufacturing, welding and supply of the components for sectors 3, 2 and 9 of the vacuum vessel.

For work related to PS1, there is an external company for electron beam welding of some of the sub-assemblies in Inner Shells such as T-Ribs, Intermodular Keys and Flexible Housings to Inner Shells; key and very precise welds. However, in the PS4 the Cantabrian Company is responsible for the entire cycle of preparation of work related to engineering, technology development, manufacture of parts and delivery.

For the second order, which Ensa has been awarded by the French agency IO , it has produced three 1:1 scale models on which all the processes developed by its engineering during the last 4 years are being validated, including robotic welding and non-destructive tests that will be performed when welding the sectors and ports to build the complete vacuum chamber.

The ITER project is a great opportunity for the nuclear industry. In fact, it is a «first of a kind» project, which means it has its own challenges. That is why Ensa has had to develop its own processes and robotic solutions to be able to face these challenges, among which there are very strict dimensional requirements, very demanding quality standards, the segregation of hardware and materials and special sequences that it has to think about, develop and implement to make sure that they adjust to the high levels that they have to have when they are carried out on the hardware and components.

But in order to be able to face all these challenges, Ensa has its Advanced Technology Center where all the necessary technology is developed, ranging from the hardware, software and methodology to have the precise technique for its successful implementation first in its Maliaño facilities and then in Cadarache when its final assembly is carried out.

Ensa will supply several components for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in the United Kingdom

Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E has recently been awarded a contract to manufacture two pressurizers for Framatome, the first supplier for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant . The Cantabrian Company is also responsible for the design, manufacture and supply of different tanks that will be embedded in the civil works: fourteen different components for the two units of the British plant. Each unit contains: a pressurised tank, a tank for the reactor cooling system and a volume control tank, as well as four accumulators and two rings; for the support and settlement of the reactor.

This marks the end of a commercial phase in which Ensa has overcome numerous challenges, developing value propositions that have allowed it to differentiate itself from stiff competition until finally being awarded these projects, which represents a milestone for Ensa in the panorama of the manufacture of components for nuclear power plants in the world market: Supplying these components in the United Kingdom is a strong endorsement of Ensa’s trajectory as a multi-system manufacturer, with different products and its internationalization, as well as an extensive experience that allows it to offer customized  services adapted to each client and situation.

Hinkley Point C , currently under construction, has a projected useful life of sixty years and is currently a leading project and international reference in the nuclear field and among the most relevant in the West.

The Advanced Technology Center of Ensa designs a new system of alignment of parts in the head of X-ray (RX)

Maliaño, 17th of September, The Automatic unit from the Advanced Technology Center of Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E , in collaboration with the QC Area , has implemented a system of alignment of parts in the X-ray head.

 This new design, based on the use of linear laser diodes, allows defining the exposure center and the axes located at 45 °. In addition, a point laser diode defines the optimum separation distance of the piece inspected

 With this new system, it is obtained an improvement in the radiographic images performance, which positively affects in the quality of products.

Ensa and the Brazilian Navy held a meeting at the facilities of the Cantabrian company

Maliaño, 20th of August, 2018-Equipos Nucleares S.A., S.M.E. received the visit of an important delegation from the Technological Centre of the Brazilian Navy headed by its director, the Vice-Admiral , Sydney dos Santos Neves.

During the meeting at the company’s facilities in Maliaño, the progress of the work at the La Marinha Nuclear Power Generation Laboratory Plant for radioactive waste processing was analysed.  In addition, during the visit to the Advanced Technology Centre and the Ensa workshop, the Marinha was able to learn more about the technological capabilities and projects in which the company currently Works.

Ensa to manufacture four tanks for ITER’s Water Detritiation System

Maliaño, December the 7th of 2016. – Equipos Nucleares, SA has been awarded the contract for the final design, manufacture and delivery of four tanks of the Water Detritiation System of the ITER project: two High Level Holding Tanks and  two Feeding Tanks.

The company located in Cantabria has signed this contract after undergoing a procurement process launched by Fusion for Energy , the EU body managing Europe’s contribution to ITER.

With this new contract, Ensa is consolidated as one of the main European manufacturers of components for large scientific facilities such as ITER.

The high quality of its components, the fulfillment of delivery time, the commitment to innovation and the technological development of the company located in Cantabria have been decisive for this award.

In March 2015, the tanks manufactured by ENSA for the Tritiated Water System, were Europe’s first-ever components to be delivered on the ITER worksite- one of the most important civil engineering platforms today.

The objective of ITER is to test the viability of fusion energy as a sustainable energy source, prior to the construction of a commercial demonstration facility.

Fusion for Energy

 Is the European Union’s organisation for Europe’s contribution to ITER.  One of the main tasks of F4E is to work together with European industry, SMEs and research organisations to develop and provide a wide range of high technology components together with engineering, maintenance and support services for the ITER project.

F4E supports fusion R&D initiatives through the Broader Approach Agreement signed with Japan and prepares for the construction of demonstration fusion reactors . F4E was created by a decision of the Council of the European Union as an independent legal entity and was established in April 2007 for a period of 35 years. Its offices are in Barcelona, Spain.