Friday, July 8, 2016

News: NuScale forges links with Sheffield city region

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NuScale Power, an American company pioneering small scale nuclear reactors, is strengthening its links with companies and organisations in the Sheffield city region as it identifies how the new, much more cost effective, sources of nuclear power can be manufactured.

NuScale Power is exploring potential opportunities to enter into partnerships to bring its small modular reactor to the UK market. The company's power module is a 50MWe pressurised water reactor and generator, which can be transported to the site much more easily in quantities of up to 12, providing the facility with a total output of 600MWe.

NuScale Power has announced a new partnership with Sheffield Forgemasters to develop manufacturing techniques for the future deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the UK.

Forgemasters, a founding member of the Nuclear AMRC, will forge a large civil nuclear reactor vessel head based on NuScale's design by the end of 2017. The work will form part of an ongoing research project supported by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, to develop and validate innovative forging and fabrication solutions for the nuclear industry.

The £4m project, funded under Innovate UK's Energy Catalyst programme, has been running since June 2015. It is led by Sheffield Forgemasters, with partners including Rolls-Royce, The Welding Institute, the University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University and the Nuclear AMRC.

NuScale Power will now be an observer in the project, and is providing additional funding to support the use of its reactor vessel head geometry for the demonstration forging.

With state of the art facilities on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham, the £25m Nuclear AMRC is a joint initiative with industry, The University of Sheffield and The University of Manchester's Dalton Nuclear Institute, and is designed to help build and enhance the UK's civil nuclear new build industry.

The Nuclear AMRC signed an agreement to work with NuScale after the US firm took part in a week-long programme of engagements with key UK nuclear engineering facilities in 2014 (pictured).

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In the Autumn spending review, George Osborne announced new funding to develop SMRs in the UK. The Nuclear AMRC is working with the principal technology vendors in support of their drive for a UK small modular reactor and with companies across the UK to help them seize existing opportunities and be ready for the potential of technologies such as SMRs.

SMRs promise to be much more affordable in the UK than the large scale reactors planned for projects like Hinkley Point C, which has struggled to secure investors and has strike prices inflated by the expense of financing the multi billion pound project.

A recent Nuclear AMRC manufacturing study for Westinghouse Electric Company concluded that the UK has the advanced manufacturing capabilities to effectively manufacture reactor pressure vessels (RPVs) - the critical systems for a small modular reactor (SMR).

Tom Mundy, managing director at NuScale, said: "Our vision of seeing the NuScale SMR deployed in, and exported from, the UK can and will only be achieved in partnership with Britain's renowned engineering and industrial base.

"Sheffield Forgemasters' skill, expertise and heritage is known the world over. Working together now is, I hope, the starting point of a lasting relationship that will ultimately see UK-manufactured SMRs generating clean reliable power for the UK grid by the 2020s."

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at Forgemasters, added: "Small modular reactors could revolutionise the civil nuclear power industry by creating more flexible power generation solutions. The efficient factory manufacture of major components will be crucial to seeing them deployed cost-effectively, and Sheffield Forgemasters has an unparalleled track record in the production of civil nuclear forgings of this size.

"NuScale's design is one of the most advanced in the world and this forging project will allow us to prove yet again that UK manufacturing is at the leading edge of global technological advancement."
Rolls-Royce, which secured outline planning permission for a manufacturing facility for nuclear components on the the AMP in Rotherham, is assisting NuScale with several areas of the SMR design with a special emphasis on manufacturability.

The vision is to see NuScale Power Modules being built in the UK for use in the domestic and European market.

NuScale is holding a supplier day at the Nuclear AMRC on July 13 to give UK-based engineering, manufacturing and construction companies the opportunity to learn about the company's programme of work.

Nuscale website
Forgemasters website
Nuclear AMRC website

Images: NuScale

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