Sheffield Forgemasters welcomes Westminster nuclear report

Posted on 22 Nov 2023 by The Manufacturer

Sheffield Forgemasters, the UK’s sole supplier of ultra-large, nuclear-grade forgings, has welcomed an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report on the future of nuclear energy in the UK.

The report highlights Sheffield Forgemasters’ 70+ years of manufacturing cast and forged components for nuclear applications and stresses the value of a UK-first supply chain for the next generation of nuclear power plants, with a domestic nuclear agenda exceeding that of any European country.

Having developed some of the world’s most advanced technologies for the manufacture of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), Sheffield Forgemasters is one of many UK companies which could aid a renaissance in British nuclear energy, which the report claims could add £20 billion to the UK economy.

Dominic Ashmore, Head of Strategy and Business Development – Clean Energy at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “The Pathway to a Nuclear Renaissance Report, provides a definitive measure of just how valuable the UK’s nuclear power agenda is, with a potential value of £20 billion to the UK economy, if the process is implemented in a way that capitalises on UK manufacturing.

“With a clear focus on SMR technologies, the UK could quickly become a world leader in the manufacture and implementation of these reactors and with the skills and technology already in place, the UK supply chain has the ability to develop at pace.

“Our own investments into site recapitalisation are creating new capabilities, with a larger, 13,000 tonne forging press under construction and plans being laid for a state-of-the-art machining facility, which build on our phenomenal track record in nuclear manufacture.”

The launch of Great British Nuclear (GBN) in July 2023, aims to start the next generation of nuclear deployment in the UK and the APPG report states that a Nuclear Roadmap should set key targets to achieve this aim, with the report outlining a programme to create 24 GW of nuclear power.

Those targets include delivering further large scale nuclear, such as Westinghouse AP1000 or EPR designed power plants, but also defining sites and placing orders for SMRs to satisfy UK requirements and to start manufacture of these smaller units for export markets.

With UK-based Rolls-Royce SMR already registered as one of six down-selected reactor designers for the UK, production for domestic and export markets could be implemented relatively quickly, with circa 250,000 skilled jobs up for grabs.

Dominic added: “The process of training and delivering a skilled workforce is a challenge that we are very happy to address and our own apprenticeships programme, which makes up ten per cent of our workforce at any one time, is testament to how strategically we can preserve and develop those skills.”

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