Sheffield Forgemasters regains ASME accreditation

19 April 2024

The UK's Sheffield Forgemasters has been awarded accreditation by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) as a supplier of heavy forgings and castings to the civil nuclear market. The company originally gained ASME accreditation as a Nuclear Material Organisation in 1992, but that had lapsed, with the lack of nuclear new-build in the following years.

(Image: Sheffield Forgemasters)

The company's nuclear qualification came after an 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 MO and NPT status means it can supply castings and forgings (material) for civil nuclear applications and also be qualified to carry out weld construction activities on these materials.

As well as being the sole UK supplier of large, nuclear-grade forgings and castings, Sheffield Forgemasters' MO and NPT status now makes it one of the only UK companies qualified for fabrication of the main components within a civil nuclear power plant.

The company said that, following the accreditation, it "will now continue its work to advance manufacturing technologies for the next generation of small modular reactor (SMR) civil nuclear power plants". It added that its status as the only company in the UK capable of manufacturing reactor vessel components for SMRs, coupled with its ASME status, make it "a crucial capability in delivery of this advanced power-generation technology".

"We undertook the ASME audit in November and have now received confirmation that the audit recommendation has been approved by the committee," Sheffield Forgemasters Group Technical Director Ian Nicholls said. "The accreditation is a huge development with heightened requirements and protocols embracing all our processes, employees and selected sub-suppliers.

"The ASME accreditation, coupled with our development of Electron Beam Welding for large diameter, nuclear-grade vessels, places Sheffield Forgemasters at the pinnacle of development for SMRs and presents significant possibilities for the UK's domestic nuclear new-build programme."

In February, Sheffield Forgemasters announced it had completed weld-assembly of a full-sized SMR nuclear vessel demonstrator assembly using Local Electron-Beam Welding (LEBW). It said the technique took less than 24 hours to complete four, thick, nuclear-grade welds, typically requiring a year of work to complete.

The company has signed memorandums of understanding with a number of SMR developers in the UK, including Rolls-Royce SMR, NuScale, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Holtec Britain and X-energy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News