Disk laser opens for R&D

The Nuclear AMRC’s powerful new disk laser cell is now open for collaborative R&D into high-performance welding techniques.

disk laser cell

The centre’s power beam team have completed the first welding trials, following a four-month installation of the cell.

The cell is designed to produce high-quality deep penetration joins, from around 15mm in stainless steel, over lengths of a metre or more. It features a 16kW Trumpf disk laser, the most powerful of its kind in the UK.

The laser head is carried by a six-axis gantry over a two-axis manipulator table which can carry components up to 15 tonnes, all contained in a safety enclosure measuring 10 by seven metres and eight metres height. The cell has been designed and built by Loughborough-based Cyan Tec Systems, a specialist in integrating robotic and laser systems for industrial applications.

disk laser prep

The Nuclear AMRC team will initially use the cell to investigate the viability of using the laser to weld seams on large intermediate-level waste containers for the nuclear decommissioning sector.

Laser welding promises to significantly reduce manufacturing times and costs while maintaining a high quality of weld seams. Thanks to a strictly localised high-energy input and high travel speeds of 10 metres per minute or more, the laser produces a much lower heat input than most other welding technologies, significantly reducing thermal stress and distortion.

The cell can deliver a simultaneous MIG weld for hybrid welding, which can offer a better fit-up tolerance than laser alone with less heat distortion than arc alone. The technique is used in the shipbuilding industry to join steel plates.

With further development, the cell could also be used to investigate laser cutting techniques for decommissioning.

The team now want to talk to manufacturers who are interested in developing laser welding processes for their own production, or who want to investigate innovative applications of the technology.

Industry views wanted on new UK research hubs

The Nuclear AMRC is seeking views from manufacturers on new regional R&D hubs to provides additional support in key areas of nuclear technology.

The Nuclear AMRC has launched the consultation to gauge demand from companies working in the nuclear industry and other advanced manufacturing sectors.

The consultation seeks views on what additional capabilities will deliver the most value to industry. Proposed technical areas include advanced construction techniques, equipment qualification, testing, and innovative electrical control and instrumentation (C&I) technologies.

consultation map

“The development of new advanced capabilities is an opportunity to bring high value opportunities such as C&I to the forefront of research and innovation in the UK, alongside initiatives such as modular construction and equipment qualification,” says Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC.

“We have already opened our R&D centre for modularisation technologies in Birkenhead, and are keen to explore what other important areas require intervention. New R&D capabilities will help reduce costs and lead time for the nuclear industry and other industries which can benefit from research in this area.”

The UK has a solid base of academic and industrial experience in many areas of technology, but a limited amount of nuclear-specific research. New build reactor vendors typically carry out research in their home country.

Increasing the UK’s C&I research capability, for example, would help the domestic supply chain move from legacy analogue systems used in existing plant, to the digital and wireless technologies systems used in new reactor designs. That would enable the UK to compete for more C&I work in operations, decommissioning, new build and future reactor development, and reduce project costs.

The consultation will seek views from the nuclear industry, academia, regional authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), as well as cross-sectoral input from other high-value industries such as construction, rail, aerospace, automotive and marine.

The Nuclear AMRC is now contacting its members and other companies it is supporting through its manufacturing innovation and supply chain development work, including manufacturers taking part in the Fit For Nuclear programme. The centre also welcomes input from any other interested company or stakeholder.

 

Rolls-Royce and Nuclear AMRC to build UK SMR module

Rolls-Royce has awarded a contract to the Nuclear AMRC to develop a module demonstrator for the UK SMR.

The demonstrator will develop an understanding of modules and underpin early-stage design principles which will help deliver cost and programme certainty for the manufacture, construction and through-life operation of its UK SMR power plants.

“Modular design is central to our UK SMR power station, not only for the reactor components but for the construction of the entire plant,” says Matt Blake, chief engineer for the UK SMR at Rolls-Royce. “The UK SMR uses road-transportable modules that are completed in factories and transported for direct plug-and-play installation on site, allowing a fleet of reactors to be built and operated with much greater levels of cost certainty and operational efficiency.”

RR SMR truck

Johnny Stephenson, Nuclear AMRC business development manager, said: “This is a fantastic project for our new modular manufacturing research facility in Birkenhead, where we are developing and evaluating a range of modularisation techniques which could be used to build a new fleet of SMRs. We will work with the UK SMR consortium to explore both physical and digital aspects of modularisation, using technologies that have the potential to deliver significant savings in the manufacture, assembly and operation of SMR power stations.”

Rolls-Royce is leading a consortium of British companies to design a small modular reactor power station to deliver low cost, low carbon energy to help the UK meet its carbon commitments. The Rolls-Royce-led UK SMR could produce reliable energy for as low as £60 per megawatt hour – competitive against wind and solar – and through its innovative approach to modular construction, can avoid the complexities, delays and overspends often associated with large infrastructure projects.

World Nuclear Exhibition

26–28 June 2018, Paris.

A major event for key players in the global nuclear energy sector, with 10,000 visitors and 4,000 businesses expected over three days. The WNE covers all aspects of the nuclear industry from new build and construction, through operations and maintenance to decommissioning.

With the full support of the French nuclear industry and including all the major international reactor vendors, the WNE represents a key event for companies looking to win work in the UK or international nuclear market. It is also a great opportunity to connect with companies in the French nuclear industry, including key players in the EDF/Framatome supply chain.

For full details: www.world-nuclear-exhibition.com

WNE2018

The Energy Industries Council (EIC) and Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) are leading a UK delegation in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT). Space is available in a shared UK pavilion – visit the EIC events page for details.

Decom2018

18–19 June 2018, London.

The Nuclear Industry Association presents Decom2018, a conference looking at the latest developments in the domestic and global decommissioning markets.

decom2018

The two-day event will feature panel discussions, keynote speeches and an opportunity to network with more than 250 senior leaders from across the decommissioning sector.

For more information, go to decom2018.co.uk

 

DIT Civil Nuclear Showcase 2018

27–28 February 2018, London.

The UK’s Department for International Trade presents the Civil Nuclear Showcase 2018.

With an established reputation in the civil nuclear calendar, this leading annual event is not to be missed. The Showcase provides a unique opportunity to network with a diverse mix of senior delegates from all around the world, including China, France, Japan and South Korea.

DIT2018

UK companies are invited to take part in a tailored programme designed to provide valuable insights into the latest global marketplace developments. You can network with a diverse mix of international and UK delegates representing government, utilities, technology providers, major contracting companies and all tiers of the supply chain; and participate in a series of country briefings to hear about developments and opportunities from DIT specialists in a range of key overseas markets.

Confirmed sponsors include Rolls-Royce, Wood, Urenco, NNL and NuGen.

For more information and to register, go to: www.events.trade.gov.uk/dit-civil-nuclear-showcase-2018