Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) has secured GBP140 million of funding that will enable it to install a 15,000t forging press and become one of a handful of suppliers worldwide capable of producing ultra-large forgings.
Over half of the funding has been secured thanks to a UK Government loan, with a “substantial contribution” from Westinghouse and a contribution from the Sheffield office of Lloyds Banking Group.
The announcement to agree the GBP80m of UK government funding was made today by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson at the company’s Sheffield site.
Graham Honeyman, chief executive at SFIL, said: “The Government loan forms the final piece of a two-year project to finance the installation of a 15,000 tonne forging press which will place the UK at the peak of a global supply chain for civil nuclear manufacturing.
“There are other companies in the world looking to enter the market for these large-scale components, but none will be able to achieve production in the same timescales as SFIL, partly due to the lengthy time it takes to gain international accreditation to manufacture for the nuclear industry.”
The demand for heavy nuclear forgings is set to more than triple by 2020, reaching 70,000 tonnes with worldwide capacity only able to supply 59,000 tonnes over the same timescale.
According to Honeyman, the world’s capability to make large and ultra large forgings for the nuclear industry is currently restricted to the equivalent of five to seven reactor supply systems a year. However the average nuclear construction rate between 2010 and 2030 is expected to be 13 new reactors a year.
“In order to place Britain in a position to capitalise on this deficit, SFIL will push through its plans, within the next three years, to make major castings and forgings for the power generation industry,” Honeyman said.
Mike Tynan, chief executive of Westinghouse UK, said “Today’s announcement is yet another tangible indicator that new nuclear build is becoming a reality for the UK and around the world. Westinghouse has long operated a “We Buy Where We Build” approach, and this news serves as further evidence of our confidence in the UK supply chain and commitment to build AP1000s here.”
Today’s announcements are subject to final due diligence which will be carried out over the coming weeks.
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