IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA has just completed the project to upgrade the Laguna Verde nuclear plant, located in the State of Veracruz and pertaining to the Mexican state-owned Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) company.
This initiative, one of most complex and ambitious undertaken within this field anywhere in the world, was awarded to a consortium led by the IBERDROLA subsidiary (97%) in 2007 for the sum of 605 million dollars and in which Alstom Mexicana also participated (3%).
The Laguna Verde project involved replacing all equipment of units 1 and 2 with the latest generation of equipment, thereby enabling the plant to operate at 120%, increasing its capacity to 1,640 megawatts (MW).
As it involved an operational nuclear plant, one of the main challenges facing IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA was that the entire project had to be carried out during the scheduled refuelling stoppages. This meant that a large amount of equipment and systems had to be upgraded in record time.
The major upgrades carried out at Laguna Verde, which will allow the design lifetime of the nuclear plant to be extended (the first unit was commissioned in 1990 and the second in 1995), required the participation of 2,000 people as well as a large number of local contractors, thereby helping to kick start the economic activity of this coastal area on the Gulf of Mexico.
The key modifications made at the plant include the replacement of the main capacitor, steam separators and heaters, the turbogroup, ventilation systems, heating and air-conditioning, auxiliary systems and electrical systems (transformers, isolated phase bus ducts and main circuit breaker).
IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA assumed responsibility for the design, engineering, equipment and material supply, installation, assembly, training and testing to carry out the aforementioned capacity increase.
Such initiatives have allowed the IBERDROLA subsidiary to become one of the world’s leading nuclear engineering companies. The Angra nuclear plant upgrade project in Brazil was completed in 2010. The same year, a consortium led by the company and which included the Spanish company Elytt Energy and Italian ASG Superconductors, was awarded a contract worth over €150 million to manufacture the coils to be housed inside the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).
In Ukraine, the company has also participated in the upgrade of the Khmelnitsky nuclear plant and, in Bulgaria, the consortium formed by IBERDROLA INGENIERÍA (80%) and the Belgian company Belgoprocess (20%) is commissioning a plasma-based radioactive waste treatment plant located at the Kozloduy nuclear plant.