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Sheffield Forgemasters Poised to Drive Next-Generation Civil Nuclear Power Plant Development

by Anna

Sheffield Forgemasters has achieved a pivotal strategic qualification, positioning the company to play a vital role in the development and realization of the next wave of civil nuclear power plants.

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This significant milestone in the company’s nuclear journey follows a rigorous audit conducted by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Section III Division I. The audit, encompassing NCA 3300 (NCA 3800), NCA 4000, and NQA-1 Code assessments, recommended Sheffield Forgemasters for Material Organisation (MO) and welding (NPT) accreditations.

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The company’s unique status as the sole UK entity capable of manufacturing reactor vessel components for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), coupled with its ASME certification, positions it as an indispensable player in the advancement of this cutting-edge power-generation technology.

Ian Nicholls, Group Technical Director at Sheffield Forgemasters, expressed the significance of this achievement, stating, “The ASME accreditation marks a monumental development, underscoring our commitment to elevated standards and protocols across all facets of our operations, including processes, personnel, and selected sub-suppliers.”

This accreditation arrives on the heels of the company’s groundbreaking innovation in welding technology for large nuclear vessels. Leveraging Electron Beam Welding, Sheffield Forgemasters has slashed the time required for manual welding from over a year to less than 24 hours, signaling a quantum leap in efficiency and productivity.

In addition to its role as the sole UK supplier of large, nuclear-grade forgings and castings, Sheffield Forgemasters’ attainment of MO and NPT status solidifies its position as one of the few UK entities qualified to fabricate the primary components within a civil nuclear power plant.

Ian elaborated on the implications of these achievements, stating, “The combination of ASME accreditation and our pioneering work in Electron Beam Welding for nuclear-grade vessels places Sheffield Forgemasters at the forefront of SMR development, opening up vast possibilities for the UK’s domestic nuclear new-build program.”

The ASME code, renowned as the most comprehensive set of guidelines for civil nuclear manufacturing globally, aligns closely with doctrines found in the European Nuclear manufacturing code, RCC-M, and other submarine nuclear standards.

Having initially secured ASME accreditation as a Nuclear Materials Organisation in 1992, Sheffield Forgemasters is poised to continue its trajectory of innovation, driving advancements in manufacturing technologies to support the next generation of SMR civil nuclear power plants.

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