Westinghouse Electric Company has been awarded a $35m contract to install replacement reactor vessel (RV) heads and to provide associated services for Axpo AG’s 730 MWe Beznau nuclear power plant in Döttingen, Switzerland.

The installations are scheduled to occur during the plant’s 2014 spring (Unit 1) and fall (Unit 2) outages. Preliminary work is underway.

In 2009, Westinghouse was awarded the contract for delivery of the RV heads to Beznau Units 1 and 2. This new contract covers the RV head installation.

Under contract terms, Westinghouse will create a temporary opening in each unit’s concrete and steel containment using plasma cutting. The old heads will be removed from the reactor vessels and transferred from containment into the on-site radioactive waste intermediate storage building. The new heads then will be installed. The removal and installation are expected to be completed in fewer than 40 days per unit.

“We applaud Axpo’s decision to proactively replace the heads, based on the experience of similar, structurally identical nuclear power plant components,” said Norbert Haspel, Westinghouse vice president and managing director, Central Europe.

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“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.”