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SFIL leads way in civil nuclear manufacturing with NAMRC

10 December 2009

Sheffield Forgemasters International (SFIL) will further develop its key role in the development of Britain's nuclear manufacturing industry after becoming a founding member of the new Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC).

SFIL will provide a functional and supportive role to the NAMRC, which will be based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.

SFIL will play a crucial and enthusiastic part in the design, strategy and function of the facility and the projects chosen and undertaken by the centre.

The centre will provide a focal point for the bulk of the UK civil nuclear manufacturing industry supply chain, ensuring that manufacturers in the UK have the capability and capacity required to compete for nuclear new build in the UK and globally, from skills training to research and development.

Sheffield Forgemasters' director Peter Birtles said: "Projects like this are vital if the UK is going to be a serious player and keep ahead of nations like China and India who are destined to play a bigger role in this market long term.

"This centre will help us provide the research and technology to keep the UK ahead of these emerging economies and allow us to spearhead global development of this sector.

"Our role will be to oversee and guide on the appropriate research to industry and the selection of relevant projects to the nuclear manufacturing sector."

The centre will be led by the University of Sheffield in partnership with the University of Manchester and with Rolls-Royce as the lead industrial partner. Other founding partners include Areva, Westinghouse and The National Metals Technology Centre (NAMTEC).

Peter added: "The partners bring different skills to the table. Westinghouse and Areva offer the architect engineering that is needed to design plants and Rolls Royce bring the fabrication skills and resources to build plants.

"Both universities and NAMTEC provide the academic and scientific input to keep moving the technology forward to produce efficient and more productive plants while SFIL, and other smaller exotic materials producers, have expertise in the science of metals and the processes that the plant's components are constructed from.

"Forgemasters now has a seat and a vital role at the core of this major initiative and we are looking forward to working with the NAMRC partners and with the wider nuclear supply chain in this very exciting venture.

"The wider implications for Sheffield is that it will become a new centre of growth for the nuclear manufacturing industry."

SFIL has a long established history of manufacturing for nuclear power production including power generation systems, nuclear fuel transportation and storage and partnerships in the Westinghouse supply chain which have seen the creation of innovative products such as the AP1000TM reactor pump casing which is now seeing worldwide use.

The company is aiming to install a 15,000 tonne press which will enable it to manufacture the largest components required for the latest generation of Westinghouse and Areva designed nuclear power plants.

The UK's nuclear programme is expected to create over 4,500 jobs over the next 25 years and contribute more than £1bn a year to industry.