Sheffield Forgemasters is upgrading its American Society of Mechanical Engineers civil nuclear accreditation.
The company, which already holds American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) accreditation for the manufacture of components for civil nuclear power, has said that the additional accreditation will help it to expand on growing market opportunities.
Sheffield Forgemasters are currently developing a programme to gain the additional accreditation covering fabrication for civil nuclear power stations.
Under its current accreditation, Forgemasters can manufacture components to the ASME Nuclear Code. The further accreditation, ASME Nuclear Partials (ASME NPT), will enable the engineering firm to physically weld fabricate safety critical components designed for nuclear power plants.
David Street, group quality director at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “We initially fielded an enquiry from one of our customers in the civil nuclear power industry to add a welded extension to a Nuclear Reactor Primary Pump casting prior to delivery rather than having to source from this work from another facility.”
“Without ASME NPT accreditation, we couldn’t undertake this work,” added Mr Street, “but gaining this accreditation opens an entirely new market opportunity to us.”
Mr Street commented that these opportunities “cover the many assemblies within the nuclear primary and secondary pressure loop systems of a civil nuclear plant, using specialist welding techniques to join cast and non-cast metals, forged and other formed metallic materials.”
In order to gain ASME NPT status, the company must develop a specific quality management programme satisfying ASME NQA-1 quality assurance requirements for nuclear facility applications.
This needs to be surveyed and approved before Forgemasters is allowed to weld, fabricate and assemble nuclear code components.
Sheffield Forgemasters will also need to engage the services of an ASME authorised nuclear inspector to work with its team to develop the programme.
David Street and his team will need to have the new ASME programme ready for external audit by mid-2012 and anticipate an investment of £140,000 to maintain the existing accreditation and enhance the quality programme to include the higher level NPT accreditation.
The ASME certification has allowed Sheffield Forgemasters to create 16-tonne reactor coolant pump castings for two power plants in China. A spokesperson for the company told The Manufacturer that opportunities in China were key in making the decision to upgrade its accreditation, and the main market for securing fabrication contracts.