Insphere Baseline launch

Thursday 21 March, Nuclear AMRC.

We are delighted to host innovative metrology company Insphere for the launch of its rapid machine tool verification system Baseline.

Insphere has worked with the Nuclear AMRC over the past year to test and develop Baseline on the centre’s largest machining platforms.

Baseline can reduce machine downtime and material scrap rates, and supports the move towards Industry 4.0 philosophies. The technology provides full verification of a large machine tool in less than one hour, facilitating regular checks and providing confidence in performance prior to cutting metal.

The Baseline launch event will include technical presentations from Insphere, Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and the Nuclear AMRC, plus shopfloor demonstrations of the Baseline technology. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

To register, go to:

Horizon suspends Wylfa new build

Horizon Nuclear Power has confirmed that it is suspending its nuclear new build projects at Wylfa in North Wales and Oldbury in Gloucestershire, following a decision by its parent company Hitachi Ltd.

The move follows discussions between the UK government and Hitachi to agree financing and commercial arrangements for Wylfa.

“I am very sorry to say that despite the best efforts of everyone involved we’ve not been able to reach an agreement to the satisfaction of all concerned,” Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive officer of Horizon Nuclear Power, said in a statement. “As a result we will be suspending the development of the Wylfa Newydd project, as well as work related to Oldbury, until a solution can be found. In the meantime we will take steps to reduce our presence but keep the option to resume development in future.”

Horizon will continue to engage with the UK government and stakeholders regarding future options for development.

Andrew Storer, chief executive officer of the Nuclear AMRC, commented: “The news from Hitachi is disappointing, and very concerning for the companies which were preparing to build and supply the new power station at Wylfa. We hope that the conversations with the UK government can conclude in a satisfactory manner to see the project progress as planned.

“This really illustrates the financial challenges of investing in the current generation of gigawatt-scale reactors. Hitachi’s ABWR technology has satisfied the regulatory process in the UK, and has already been built to schedule previously, but it represents a huge upfront investment with a long period until a financial return.

“While this is negative news for the nuclear sector in the UK, we do need to look at the broader perspective with new designs of advanced modular reactors being developed. These could meet the UK’s needs for new low-carbon baseline generation in a more affordable way. Smaller reactor units can reduce the financial challenges, while modular construction in factories using advanced manufacturing techniques can significantly reduce the overall costs of a new fleet of reactors.

“This is further evidence that as a country, we need to seize the opportunities of new advanced reactors, to meet our energy needs and to allow UK manufacturers to take a global lead in these game-changing technologies. However, we do have a low carbon electricity challenge today and Wylfa Newydd represents a significant contribution to our energy mix and our UK renaissance of nuclear new build. Let’s hope a way forward can be established quickly.”


Spherical Tokamak opportunities

31 January, Nuclear AMRC; 1 February, London.

The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production project is an ambitious new programme to design and ultimately build a compact fusion power station in the UK. The UK government has committed an initial £20 million for conceptual design development.

Project leader UKAEA is holding two information events for industry and researchers, including companies in the nuclear supply chain which want to know more about the opportunities around fusion:

  • Thursday 31 January, 3–6pm, at the Nuclear AMRC, South Yorkshire
  • Friday 1 February, 10.30am–1.30pm, at the Royal Academy of Engineering, central London.

For more information and to register, contact Lisa Jones:

Northern Women’s Infrastructure Network

24 January 2019, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC hosts the launch event for the new Northern branch of the Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN) UK, to bring together women working in infrastructure sectors – transport, utilities, communications, government and environmental – across the North of England.

Founded by women at key regional businesses, Northern WIN aims to bring together like-minded women who want to expand their professional networks across industries, and share best practice for evolving equality of opportunity and career advancement.

This launch event will include presentations from women working in senior roles in the UK’s nuclear power sector, as well as networking opportunities and discussions on developing the group for the benefit of all.

The half-day event is free to attend, and includes optional breakfast and lunch. For more information and the agenda, download the flyer (pdf).

To register, go to:

Advanced cooling forum

15 January 2019, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC invites you to explore the state of the art in supercritical carbon dioxide coolant in advanced machining for the most demanding industries and applications.

The Nuclear AMRC is leading research into supercritical CO2 cooling for challenging machining tasks, and combining it with minimum quantity lubricant (MQL) techniques for optimum performance. The technology has been shown to reduce tool wear compared to traditional oil-based coolants, but needs further R&D to optimise cutting conditions for the most demanding tasks.

This one-day forum will bring together industrial users with researchers to discuss the opportunities and challenges of CO2 coolants, and share the latest research and best practice. Download the flyer for more details, including agenda and speakers.

To register, go to:

NIP advanced manufacturing and materials seminar

16 January 2019, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC invites you to explore the latest cutting-edge research into manufacturing techniques and materials for a new generation of nuclear power.

The UK Nuclear Innovation Programme (NIP) is supported by industry, academia and research centres, and backed by government. It involves a series of collaborative projects, led by leading UK companies and research centres, to deliver the most innovative solutions to meet the needs of the UK nuclear industry in six broad areas.

This exclusive seminar features presentations from projects in the advanced manufacturing and materials area, with speakers from Cammell Laird, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Wood, UKAEA and Nuclear AMRC, plus an introduction from the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office. Topics range from nano–structured metals which could extend the life of reactors, to integrated tooling and intelligent fixturing which could halve the cost of producing large assemblies.

Download the flyer for more details, including agenda and speakers.

To register, go to:

CNL collaboration to focus on clean energy development

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) has signed a new agreement with the Nuclear AMRC to work together to develop new clean energy and next-generation nuclear technologies.

Mark Lesinski, president and chief executive officer of CNL, and Andrew Storer, chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Canada-UK Energy Summit in London. The annual conference aims to expand ties between the energy sectors in Canada and the UK, both of which are committed to combating climate change by transitioning to low-carbon, low-pollution and resource-efficient economies.

Under the agreement, CNL will join the Nuclear AMRC as a tier one member alongside leading nuclear organisations from around the world.

“Both CNL and the Nuclear AMRC are committed to fighting climate change through the advancement of clean energy technologies, and this MOU allows us to work in partnership towards that end,” said Lesinski.

“For CNL, membership offers tremendous benefits, including access to unique capabilities and training programs, participation in cutting-edge manufacturing innovation projects, and networking opportunities with some of the world’s leading nuclear organisations. In turn, CNL can offer the Nuclear AMRC access to our expertise and facilities from a wide range of nuclear science and technology disciplines. Overall, the MOU builds on the close relationship between both countries, and paves the way for a bright future in the pursuit of clean energy technology.”

CNL’s Chalk River Laboratories campus is home to facilities and nuclear services ranging from research and development, design and engineering to specialised technology, waste management and decommissioning.

“We are very pleased to be strengthening our collaboration with CNL, which is a testament to the longstanding relationship between the UK and Canada in driving innovation in the global civil nuclear industry,” said Storer. “Working closely with CNL will give us access to world-renowned engineering expertise and additional manufacturing research programmes linked to the development of small modular and Candu reactor technologies. We look forward to building a prosperous partnership with CNL in the years to come.”

Many of CNL’s technology areas intersect with those of the Nuclear AMRC. The two organisations intend to collaborate on fields including materials characterization and performance, and advanced manufacturing methods for small modular reactor (SMR) safety-critical components.

“CNL is currently undergoing a major transformation, funded by a $1.2 billion investment from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) on behalf of the Government of Canada, to revitalize our Chalk River campus and renew our science and technology programs,” commented Lesinski. “As part of this transformation, we are working to develop new products and services that include the deployment of SMRs, the use of hydrogen to decarbonise Canada’s transportation sector, the development of new methods to fabricate next-generation nuclear fuels, and many others. These programs are ambitious in scope, and will certainly require the expertise and technologies of key partners – such as the Nuclear AMRC and their UK-based membership – to fully realise their potential.”

The announcement builds on the strong record of collaboration between Canada and the UK dating back to the 1940s, when both countries established a laboratory in Montreal to jointly begin research into the creation of controlled nuclear power. Most recently, CNL signed an MOU with the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) in 2016 to collaborate on a variety of projects in the areas of reactor metallurgy, fuel development, waste management and medical radioisotopes.

The countries also co-host the Canada-UK Energy Summit, which gathers business and government leaders from the energy sectors in Canada, the UK and around the world for discussions on accelerating clean energy adoption. The annual event, organised by the Energy Roundtable, is now in its tenth year.

TotalDecom supply chain networking

20 November 2018, AMRC Knowledge Transfer Centre.

The Nuclear AMRC is teaming up with TotalDecom to offer the perfect platform for manufacturers to network with supply chains which seek their skills and expertise.

TotalDecom supports collaboration and the cross-fertilisation of knowledge, innovation and skills across all sectors faced with a decommissioning responsibility – including nuclear, oil & gas, pharmaceuticals, renewables, defence and space – with webinars and events across the year.

This supply chain networking event will be a great opportunity for manufacturers to:

  • Learn –about what’s going on across the decommissioning industries , new innovations and technology in the nuclear supply chain, and where there might be potential to win new business.
  • Connect –the supply chain exhibition will provide a fantastic networking opportunity, bringing together organisations actively looking to solve some of the world’s most difficult technical challenges  with the businesses that can.
  • Do business – pitch your company to influential organisations with our one-to-one appointment slots.
  • Diversify –many of the skills and expertise required to decommission an asset safely, cost effectively and with minimal impact on the environment are remarkably similar across all sectors – learn about how you can take your skills & expertise into new and exciting areas.

For more information and to register, go to TotalDecom Supply Chain Networking Event.

Conference focuses on commercialising small reactors

Around 200 industry experts attended the UK’s first government-backed conference to explore the investment opportunities of small nuclear reactors.

The Commercialisation of small reactors in the UK event was organised by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and held at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry on 6 November. It brought together experts from across the finance, nuclear, construction and manufacturing sectors to explore taking small and advanced reactors from concept to construction.

In a presentation to the conference, nuclear energy minister Richard Harrington announced the next steps in government support for small and advanced modular reactors as part of the nuclear sector deal.

The £32 million advanced manufacturing and construction programme, which will aim to kickstart the supply chain for small nuclear projects, will be launched before the end of the year. Companies will be able to bid for funding to try out new technologies and techniques associated with new reactors and iron out any flaws with demonstration models, before they start producing at scale.

The programme is intended to support a number of representative-scale build projects using factory-build techniques, modular and advanced construction processes, digital engineering and other methods. These collaborative projects will bring together the industry’s top tier with manufacturers, universities and specialist research centres, with the results fed through the UK supply chain. Research will be targeted at technologies and components which offer the greatest value for UK manufacturing, with companies working with the nuclear regulators to ensure that new processes and products meet regulatory requirements.

Harrington also announced that developers of small and advanced modular reactors would be invited to submit their design proposals to the UK regulators in the new year. Any new designs will have to pass the generic design assessment (GDA) process operated by the Office for Nuclear Regulation and Environment Agency, which allows a reactor design to be built at multiple sites in the UK.

“Hosting this first ever conference, bringing together more than 200 influencers from across the industry, demonstrates our commitment to enhancing our world-leading nuclear sector,” Harrington said. “Increasing competitiveness both nationally and regionally in the sector is part of our modern Industrial Strategy, and this summit could help UK industry seize the global challenge of taking this new generation of new nuclear power from concept to construction.”

Speakers at the conference included Nuclear AMRC programme director Jay Shaw, who presented alongside MTC director Neil Rawlinson on how manufacturing innovation can be best applied to the small reactor market.

The event included a showcase of relevant manufacturing technologies, including prototype pressure vessel sections produced by the Nuclear AMRC as part of a collaborative project with the US Electric Power Research Institite. Parts on show included a pressure vessel section joined by electron beam welding in two hours, compared to some 10 days using conventional submerged arc welding techniques; and a pressure vessel head partially clad using advanced diode laser technology.

“The advanced manufacturing technologies we’re developing at the Nuclear AMRC will play a vital role in ensuring that new reactor designs are manufactured to cost and schedule, enabling the UK to take a global lead in commercialising small reactors, with huge opportunities for companies across the country,” commented Andrew Storer, Nuclear AMRC chief executive officer. “We’re already working with around 1,000 manufacturers across the UK to help them compete in the worldwide nuclear sector, and we welcome the Government’s continuing support for the new generation of clean affordable power.”

The event followed a visit from business secretary Greg Clark to the Nuclear AMRC on 25 October, where he met apprentices and staff developing cutting-edge technology for SMR production.

Business secretary hails new generation of power

Business secretary Greg Clark MP visited the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to see the centre’s work in supporting the next generation of nuclear power and delivering the nuclear sector deal.

During a tour of the Nuclear AMRC workshop, Clark saw a range of advanced machining, joining and robotic technologies which can significantly increase productivity in the manufacture of a new generation of small and advanced modular reactors.

“This cutting-edge facility in Sheffield is pioneering innovative nuclear technology of the future, as the UK continues to seize the opportunities of moving to a greener, cleaner economy through our modern industrial strategy,” Clark said.

“The UK was the first domestic nuclear power country in the world and this government commissioned the first new nuclear power station in over a generation. The development of small modular reactors as part of our landmark £200 million nuclear sector deal could unlock more jobs and more local growth.”

Published in June, the nuclear sector deal supports a variety of initiatives to create a more competitive supply chain, using advanced manufacturing technologies to win work in the UK and worldwide. In return for funding support of up to £200 million total, the industry has committed to significantly reducing costs in nuclear new build and decommissioning, and growing the pool of skilled employees by improving gender diversity.

During his visit on 25 October, Clark was shown workpieces from an ongoing project to reduce production time for a small modular reactor pressure vessel. These include pressure vessel sections (above) which have been joined by electron beam welding, a technique highlighted in the sector deal as offering significant productivity and quality improvements by reducing weld cycle times from days to hours.

“The Nuclear AMRC is playing a vital role in delivering advanced manufacturing techniques and developing the supply chain for the nuclear industry,” commented chief executive officer Andrew Storer. “I was delighted to show the Secretary of State some of our world-leading capabilities for industry-led research and development, which are part of the key to achieving the ambitious targets of winning work in the UK and overseas in the nuclear sector deal.”

Clark and Storer also discussed the centre’s work to improve the competitiveness of the UK supply chain, including proposals to expand and develop the established Fit For Nuclear (F4N) programme. Around 1,000 companies have already engaged with the programme, with 145 now granted F4N status after driving business improvements with support from the Nuclear AMRC.

An expanded national supply chain development programme, backed by the nuclear sector deal and linked to advanced manufacturing and construction R&D, could create or sustain up to 12,500 jobs and up to £2 billion domestic and international contract wins by 2030.

“Our supply chain development programme has already helped hundreds of companies become more competitive, and we’re planning to expand that to help even more companies win work in nuclear,” Storer noted.

Clark also met some of the centre’s young engineers and apprentices during his visit.

“Diversity is a really important and provides confidence that we are developing scientists and manufacturers for the future,” Storer said. “I was really pleased to introduce our apprentices and allow them to explain what they aspire to become.”