Finland’s Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO) and Fortum are jointly testing the first valve with a 3D printed valve body at the Olkiluoto NPP, TVO said on 5 May. The valve housing was supplied by Neles Finland Oy and the valve was installed by TVO. Inside the 3D-printed valve body is a standard T5 series ball valve made of stainless steel. “The 3D printed valve body, like other possible 3D parts in the future, will give us an alternative in a situation where the number of suppliers to nuclear power plants is decreasing. So, if necessary, we can manufacture a unique component by printing it ourselves, said Dino Nerweyi, Life Management Engineer at TVO.
“With this project, Fortum wants to contribute to the possibility of utilising 3D printing, especially in the manufacture of safety-classified components for nuclear power plants. 3D printing can bring significant cost savings in the event of a breakdown of a device that is no longer directly available from manufacturers”, said Fortum design engineer Tomi Räihä.
According to Nerweyi and Räihä, both technology and 3D materials knowledge have advanced enough to enable 3D printing in the nuclear power sector as well. Field tests provide a lot of valuable information on whether 3D printing could in the future be used to produce pressure-resistant parts with significantly faster delivery times than traditional manufacturing methods.
Image: The main body of the T5 series ball valve has been 3D-printed (Credit: Neles Finland Oy)