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Sheffield Forgemasters enters US nuclear power market

25 November 2008

Sheffield Forgemasters has secured its first phase of orders for the American civil nuclear power market, thanks to a stainless steel component originally created for China.

The order is an extension to a current contract from Curtiss Wright EMD to supply pump casings for Westinghouse AP1000TM reactors located at North American power plants.

Forgemasters worked with Curtiss-Wright EMD in the details of the development of the casing, and has now been commissioned by the company to produce 16 of the stage-one pump casings to service Westinghouse's first American AP 1000 TM power plants.

Curtiss Wright first endorsed SFIL to produce the casings for China's new-wave of Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plants and they are now set to reach a global market.

Shaun Gray, senior sales manager at SFIL's Engineering division, said: "The success of the cast casings for Westinghouse AP 1000 power plants has enabled SFIL to enter the key USA civil nuclear market for the first time.  This is just the starting point of the nuclear renaissance in both North America and the western world.

"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 technical team 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."

The 16-tonne reactor coolant pump castings will be manufactured at the company's Brightside lane foundry using modern casting simulation and methoding techniques to create high integrity finished structures.

Graham Honeyman, chief executive at SFIL, said: "The work of SFIL's Engineering team in conjunction with Curtiss Wright EMD has produced a component that will be used on all AP 1000TM plants worldwide and taking our first contract to supply components to the US civil nuclear market is a great accolade for Forgemasters."

Work on the order is estimated to commence in 2010 following a first production run of 19 casings for China's new-wave of Westinghouse AP1000TM nuclear power plants located at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and Haiyang in Shandong province.