British company pioneers new nuclear welding technique

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2024-02-27 15:30:11

Sheffield Forgemasters has completed weld-assembly of a full-sized small modular reactor (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.

"With a diameter of three metres and a wall thickness of 200mm, construction of the vessel showcases the reliability and capabilities of LEBW, setting a dramatic new standard for weld-joining thick-walled components, previously untrialled in a demonstrator model," the company said.

Sheffield Forgemasters deployed specially developed parameters, meticulously fine-tuned during the welding development stage, including innovative sloping-in and sloping-out techniques to start and finish the weld, ensuring a clean and complete weld-join.

"We are delighted to have reached a significant milestone in assembling a nuclear vessel demonstrator, using electron beam welding for the first time at this scale, with 100% success and no defects," said Jesus Talamantes-Silva, research, design and technology director at Sheffield Forgemasters.

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