The first ever UK-manufactured component for China’s nuclear power programme has started its 10,000 mile journey.

A unique cast stainless steel pump casing made by Sheffield Forgemasters has today been despatched from the 200-year-old engineering specialist’s Brightside Lane site, heralding Britain’s first involvement in the Asian super-power’s burgeoning nuclear power programme.

The casing, one of 18 produced for Curtiss-Wright Flow Control Company on behalf of Westinghouse Electric Company, left Sheffield Forgemasters last week and will undertake a trans-continental sea voyage to finally dock at China’s sea port of Dalian.

All of the 16-tonne reactor coolant pump castings, which can be manufactured efficiently and economically, will see service on China’s Westinghouse AP1000TM nuclear power plants at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Haiyang in Shandong province. They are also set to feature on all future AP1000TM plants globally.

Mike Tynan, CEO of Westinghouse Electric Company in the UK, said: “Shipping the first UK manufactured component is a key milestone in our project to build the world’s first AP1000 nuclear power plant in China.

“We currently have orders for ten AP1000 plants and we’re also seeing significant interest in the UK, where we have now established our dedicated UK team. We have growing interest from around the world and are delighted to be working in partnership with Sheffield Forgemasters, one of the UK’s leading manufacturing organisations, as we continue to expand our global nuclear build programme.”

SFIL worked with EMD, a business unit of Curtiss-Wright Flow Control, in the details of the development of the safety critical castings, and was commissioned by the company to produce the stage-one pump casings because of its expertise in casting manufacture and materials development.

Shaun Gray, senior sales manager at SFIL’s Engineering division, said: “This is a landmark moment for the UK’s involvement in global nuclear power supply and these are the first components manufactured within the UK that will be used in China’s nuclear power plants.

“Sheffield Forgemasters has worked closely with Curtiss-Wright and also with Westinghouse to become a fundamental partner in the supply chain for a programme which will see Westinghouse AP1000 power plants installed across the world.

“What we have achieved with the AP1000 project is a first for SFIL and the cast safety critical pump casings will be incorporated into the main reactor system itself.

“The process of manufacturing the reactor coolant pump casings is very refined and the AP1000 castings have taken substantial input from our technical director Ian Nicholls and his team design teams to produce what are really quite complex structures in terms of mechanical and metallurgical requirements.

“These pumps are structurally integral to the reactor and have many stresses placed on them aside from those created by pumping pressurised coolant at a rate of 65 to 95 thousand gallons per minute.”

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