Sheffield Forgemasters has signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce SMR to jointly explore commercial mechanisms for a long-term collaboration on the supply of forgings to the Rolls-Royce UK Small Modular Reactor (SMR) fleet.
The project directly supports the UK’s civil nuclear sector and the development of SMRs in the UK, with Sheffield Forgemasters able to supply the complex, nuclear-grade demonstrator forgings as part of the regulatory process.
Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce SMR CEO, said: “Sheffield Forgemasters are world leaders in complex, safety-critical forgings and castings and we are incredibly fortunate to have their experience to support and enable our SMR programme. This agreement is the start of an enduring partnership and reflects our commitment to the UK supply chain as we look to rebuild and re-energise the vital UK nuclear supply chain.”
David Bond, chief executive officer at Sheffield Forgemasters, said: “SMR's have the potential to become the standard for civil nuclear power generation and as an emerging market, fits extremely well with our long track record of supplying nuclear power components into the UK submarine programme.
“With a new investment fund of £400m to replace our defence critical assets, including the provision of a new 13,000 tonne forging line and 19 state-of-the-art machining centres, we will create much higher levels of manufacturing capability and efficiency, to the benefit of defence nuclear work, but with obvious cross-benefits for civil nuclear activity, including SMR’s.
“Rolls-Royce SMR is advancing plans for factory assembled SMR’s in the UK and Sheffield Forgemasters is well positioned to be a UK supply chain partner in the delivery of complex, finished and semi-finished nuclear grade components into the SMR build programme.”
The Rolls Royce SMR is based on proven nuclear technology, using offsite, factory-built, modular assembly to remove construction complexity. This repeatable, standardised approach hopes to make nuclear affordable, deliverable, scalable, global and investable.
When fully operational, the Rolls-Royce SMR programme will create 40,000 UK jobs primarily across the North and Midlands where the majority of UK nuclear expertise is located, with the potential for £52bn in economic benefits from export.