Sheffield Forgemasters has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rolls-Royce SMR to jointly explore commercial mechanisms for a long-term collaboration on the supply of forgings to the Rolls-Royce UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) fleet.
The project directly supports the UK’s civil nuclear renaissance and the development of SMRs in the UK, with Sheffield Forgemasters able to supply the complex, nuclear-grade demonstrator forgings as part of the regulatory process.
Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR’s CEO, said: “Sheffield Forgemasters are world leaders in complex, safety-critical forgings and castings and we are incredibly fortunate to have their experience to support and enable our SMR programme. This agreement is the start of an enduring partnership and reflects our commitment to the UK supply chain as we look to rebuild and re-energise the vital UK nuclear supply chain.”
The agreement, signed on 3 December at the Nuclear Industry Association’s Nuclear 21 event followed the establishment of Rolls-Royce SMR Ltd which was set up to deliver the next generation of low cost, low carbon nuclear power technology.
“SMR's have the potential to become the standard for civil nuclear power generation and as an emerging market, fits extremely well with our long track record of supplying nuclear power components into the UK submarine programme,” said Sheffield Forgemasters CEO David Bond. “With a new investment fund of £400 million ($530 million) to replace our defence critical assets, including the provision of a new 13,000 tonne forging line and 19 state-of-the-art machining centres, we will create much higher levels of manufacturing capability and efficiency, to the benefit of defence nuclear work, but with obvious cross-benefits for civil nuclear activity, including SMR’s.
He added: “Rolls-Royce SMR is advancing plans for factory assembled SMR’s in the UK and Sheffield Forgemasters is well positioned to be a UK supply chain partner in the delivery of complex, finished and semi-finished nuclear grade components into the SMR build programme.” In November, Rolls-Royce SMR issued a Notice of Intention to submit its 470MWe SMR design for entry to the UK's Generic Design Assessment (GDA) regulatory process.
Photo: David Bond, CEO Sheffield Forgemasters (left) and Tom Samson Rolls-Royce SMR’s CEO (right)