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Welding Solutions for the Nuclear Industry

Böhler Welding has a proven track record in the supply of high quality and innovative welding consumables for the nuclear industry, where it is known that welding itself is the most critical operationin the construction of a nuclear power plant. Thus, special attention must be paid to the welding procedure as well as the production and delivery of welding consumables. We have offered high quality solutions using the widest range of technical expertise with a consistent QA/QC standard. Trusted deliveries have been made to the world’s leading nuclear equipment manufacturers for use in both new reactors and plant modernizations all over the world.

Our products meet the nuclear industry requirements for tight chemical compositions and product purity, as well as for strength and corrosion resistance. Nuclear projects place a higher demand on product safety and reliability, requiring partners with extensive experience.

Our products are known for their outstand­ing quality and hence comply with the strictest quality standards. We are well acquainted with the leading trade standards and regulations such as ASME NQA-1, NCA-3800,RCC-M, RCC-MR, KTA 1408.2, 10 CFR 50 as specific project specifica­tions. This not only ensures that we manufacture products with industry-leading tolerance accuracies, but also that our grades for the nuclear industry meet the relevant industry standards in detail with certified material and quality documents.

Further proof of the international appreciation of the high quality of our welding consumables is the Quality System Certificate (Materials), ASME sec. III-NCA 3800, which has been awarded by ASME to the following production sites:

  • Hamm in Germany
  • Seneffe in Belgium
  • Kapfenberg in Austria

Welding the Reactor Pressure Vessel

The reactor pressure vessel consists of a thick-walled cylindrical steel vessel enclosing the reactor core in a nuclear power plant. The vessel is made of special fine-grained low alloy steel, well suited for welding and with a high toughness.

voestalpine Böhler Welding offers filler materials for the main welding processes (SAW, SMAW, GTAW) suitable for this application, ensuring high impact properties (also proven by the drop-weight test) and low level of impurities.

The inner surface of the reactor pressure vessel constitutes a severe corrosive environment due to the circulating coolant contaminated with radioactive elements. The part of the vessel in direct contact with the coolant is overlaid with stainless steel or nickel alloy welding consumables, in order to protect the vessel from corrosion. voestalpine Böhler Welding offers cladding solutions with submerged or electroslag strip cladding processes that guarantee higher production efficiency compared to SAW strip cladding. We offer high quality welding consumables for the GTAW and SMAW process for smaller surfaces and not easily accessible surfaces.

The reactor pressure vessels heads contain penetrations to allow the control rod driving mechanism. High-quality nickel alloy welding consumables are available for welding the penetration nozzles on the reactor vessel's head.

Welding the Steam Generators

A steam generator is one of the most critical components in the nuclear primary circuit. It measures up to 21 m in height and weighs 800 tons. Each steam generator contains U tubes made from nickel alloys that guarantee thermal exchange and safe operation in the pressurized water reactors. The main pressure retaining base materials used are sophisticated low-alloyed high-strength and high-toughness steels.

For this application, voestalpine Böhler Welding offers dedicated filler materials for each of the main welding processes (SAW, SMAW, GTAW) that are able to guarantee the mechanical properties after very long simulated post weld heat treatments, with high toughness and a low level of impurities. The tube sheet and the channel head are exposed to corrosive environment, so a weld overlay is required on these parts.

voestalpine Böhler Welding offers a complete portfolio of filler materials in alloy 690, designed to resist primary water stress corrosion cracking. In particular, strip cladding solutions (with SAW and ESW processes), wires and covered electrodes are available for this critical application.

Welding the Pressurizers

The pressurizer is one of the key components in the pressurized water reactor and it has the key function of prevent water in reactor coolant system from boiling. The filler materials and the welding processes applied in the construction of the pressurizers are basically the same as in the steam generators.

voestalpine Bohler Welding supports its customers with fine-tuned welding consumables ideal for both joining (including bi-metallic joint between low-alloy and stainless steels) and cladding applications.

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