Sheffield Forgemasters set to expand into nuclear fabrication after passing highly testing audit

Posted on 11 Dec 2023 by The Manufacturer

Sheffield Forgemasters is positioned to expand into nuclear fabrication after passing a highly testing audit to regain its coveted ASME status as a key supplier of heavy forgings and castings to the civil nuclear power market.

The company is on-track to receive its nuclear qualification after an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Section III Division I NCA 3300 (NCA 3800), NCA 4000 and NQA-1 Code survey and audit, recommended it for Material Organisation (MO), and welding (NPT) accreditations.

ASME NPT (Nuclear Partials) is an advanced accreditation, enabling the historic engineering marque to become the only UK producer of heavy forgings and castings to physically weld-fabricate such safety critical components for the heart of a nuclear power plant.

Ian Nicholls, group technical director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said, “Sheffield Forgemasters has passed the ASME audit to qualify as a Materials Organisation with NPT status. The accreditation is a huge development with enhanced requirements and disciplines embracing all our processes, employees and selected sub-suppliers.”

Sheffield Forgemasters, which is a crucial supplier to the UK defence industry, will be able to supply ‘material’ (castings and forgings) for civil nuclear applications and will be able to carry out weld construction activities on these materials through ASME NPT Certification.

The ASME CNC committee will need to approve the audit’s findings before the certificate is granted, but once the company secures MO and NPT status it will be one of the only UK companies qualified for main component fabrication within a civil nuclear power plant.

Ian added: “ASME accreditation opens up significant possibilities for the UK’s own nuclear new-build programme and taps into a growing need for nuclear power to solve the world’s energy crisis.”

“The ASME code is the most comprehensive series of guidelines for civil nuclear manufacture in the world with an emphasis on doctrines that resonate with the European Nuclear manufacturing code, RCC-M, and other submarine nuclear standards.

“Code compliance is a significant undertaking for any company wishing to enter the UK civil nuclear supply chain, requiring comprehensive understanding to avoid code violation. Businesses will need to understand how to engage with this process and currently, very few UK companies do.”

Sheffield Forgemasters first gained ASME accreditation as a Nuclear Materials Organisation in 1992 will now continue its work to develop manufacturing technologies for the next generation of SMR civil nuclear power plants.

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