Westinghouse designed its new AP1000 Pressure Water Reactor as the safest and most economical nuclear power plant available. There are 8 such plants under construction around the world and dozens more planned. Key components in the AP1000 units are the structural modules that specify LDX2101® stainless steel plate.
Three grades of stainless were considered for the plates within the module. These plates come in contact with water in the refueling canal, with the containment refueling water storage tank, with the spent fuel tank, with the cask loading pit, and with the cask wash-down pit.
Each unit requires up to 500 tons of stainless steel, so material integrity, corrosion resistance, and costs are critical.
Early in the design process, New Castle Stainless Plate experts met with Westinghouse engineers to suggest alternate stainless grades with twice the material strength of the grades under consideration, as well as significantly lower nickel content (which would help reduce cost volatility over the length of the order).
The New Castle Stainless Plate team facilitated a series of tests on the new grade (LDX 2101®). These test results led to the first significant commercial application of this grade and eventual acceptance of the grade into NRC standards.
Commercial acceptance of LDX 2101 was the direct result of the close collaboration between New Castle Stainless Plate technical experts and Westinghouse engineers. This was no small feat, but has led to significant sales of LDX 2101 to nuclear power plants in North America and worldwide. NCSP is currently delivering LDX 2101 for the V.C. Summer facility (units 2 & 3) in South Carolina and for the Vogtle site (units 3 & 4) in Georgia. In total, the AP1000 has been selected for 14 proposed nuclear plants in the United States, each with specifications for the proprietary LDX 2101.
LDX 2101 is now specified for a wide range of applications well beyond nuclear, where material strength, corrosion resistance, and cost are factors.