Sheffield Forgemasters sets sights on coveted nuclear accreditation

Posted on 24 Jul 2012

Sheffield Forgemasters is set to become one of the very few UK manufacturers with accreditation allowing it to expand into nuclear fabrication for civilian nuclear projects by gaining the Nuclear Partials accreditation.

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) will expand into nuclear fabrication after passing an audit to retain its 20-year American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) ASME status as a key supplier of heavy forgings and castings to the civil nuclear power market.

The famous Sheffield company is aiming for the NPT (Nuclear Partials) accreditation, in early 2013, making it the only UK producer of heavy forgings and castings to physically weld-fabricate safety critical components to form the heart of a nuclear power plant.

David Street, group quality director at SFIL commented, “The programme to gain NPT status is a huge development with enhanced requirements and disciplines embracing all our processes, employees and sub suppliers. This is to ensure we meet the exacting construction requirements of the ASME code, which are some of the most stringent demands in modern engineering.”

SFIL, which is a crucial supplier to the UK defence industry, can currently supply ‘material’ for use in civil nuclear applications but it cannot carry out further weld construction activities on these materials as will be allowed by NPT Certification status.

Once SFIL secures NPT status, only itself and Rolls-Royce, are UK-owned companies qualified for main component fabrication within a civil nuclear power plant.

“The implications of the codes are vast for any company wishing to enter the UK civil nuclear supply chain with precise requirements which need comprehensive understanding to ensure compliance and avoid code violation,” said Mr Street.

Through its role as a tier one member of the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC), Sheffield Forgemasters has the potential to play a crucial part in establishing quality assurance requirements for businesses aiming to enter the UK civil nuclear supply chain.

David added: “The code is an absolute requirement with no scope for concessions. Manufacture must be ASME code compliant to avoid non-acceptance and rejection. That’s where our involvement with the NAMRC should enable our expertise in this field to reach a much broader market.”