Sheffield Forgemasters signs MOU with fourth civil nuclear provider

Published: 9 February 2023

Sheffield Forgemasters has signed an MOU to collaborate with Holtec Britain on the development of components for its SMR-160 reactor.

Following similar agreements signed with three other nuclear power companies, the MOU with Holtec will see Sheffield Forgemasters develop the design of Holtec’s SMR-160 components to identify the best routes to manufacture.

The latest MOU positions the company at the apex of the UK’s manufacturing supply chain for the Small Modular Reactor (SMR) market and builds on its long history of supplying components into civil nuclear projects across the globe.

Dominic Ashmore, Head of Strategy and Business Development – Clean Energy at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “We are looking forward to working closely with Holtec Britain on the SMR-160 designed reactor.

“This MOU complements a broader body of work that we are undertaking for the UK’s future civil nuclear programme, with Small Modular Reactors (SMR’s) as a key element, alongside larger nuclear power plants and the real possibility of fusion power.

“We’ll work with Holtec to jointly develop the design for manufacture and purchase specifications for specific forgings, with specific attention on providing components which reduce the required machining, assembly, welding, and in-service inspection requirements for those components.”

SMR power plants are seen as a revolutionary development in the civil nuclear (fission) market, and are designed at much smaller scale than commonly commissioned ultra-large (1000+Mwe) reactors and are therefore scalable, depending on energy needs.

Dr. Rick Springman, Senior Vice President of International Projects and Executive Committee member at Holtec, said: “SMR-160 small modular reactor power plants are engineered to provide clean, reliable 24/7 power from their unconditionally safe reactors. Holtec is seeking to deploy a fleet of SMR-160 plants in the UK to supply nine million homes.

“We are delighted to partner with Sheffield Forgemasters to further manufacturing routes for key forgings required for this project.”

The modular nature of SMRs means that they can be faster and cheaper to deploy, faster to decommission and offer enhanced safety features.