The UK’s Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd on 8 July agreed to work with Fluor Corp’s NuScale Power to make components for small modular reactors (SMRs). Sheffield Forgemasters will forge a large civil nuclear reactor vessel head by the end of 2017 as part of a GBP4m ($5.17m) programme funded by the government-backed Innovate UK agency, according to a statement. NuScale, majority owned by Fluor, is providing an undisclosed sum of additional funding, a spokesman for the company told Bloomberg by e-mail.
The UK Treasury in November said it will allocate GBP250m into research and development of SMRs over the next five years. NuScale is participating in the Government’s competition to choose the best value SMR, which is aimed at seeing SMRs deployed in the UK in the 2020s. This builds on activities in the US, where NuScale is at an advanced stage of development. The first NuScale facility is planned to be in operation in 2024 in Idaho.
Sheffield Forgemasters will build the vessel head regardless of who wins the competition, a NuScale spokesman said. Sheffield Forgemasters’ CEO Graham Honeyman said the project with NuScale is a first for the UK and marks an important step forward in developing the concept of SMRs for a potential global market. He added: “In the short term, we will be creating a test-piece which is a body of work we can handle with current staffing numbers, but the longer term potential for Sheffield Forgemasters and the wider UK supply chain could be significant from a jobs creation perspective.