Global leap in nuclear welding technology

Completion of the first full-sized SMR (small modular reactor) nuclear vessel demonstrator at Sheffield Forgemasters signals a global leap forward in welding technology. The company is pioneering the industrialisation of local electron-beam welding (LEBW), with complete weld-assembly of the vessel marking a pivotal moment in welding development. It takes less than 24 hours to complete four, thick, nuclear-grade welds, typically requiring a year of work to complete.

With a diameter of 3 m and a wall thickness of 200 mm, the construction of the vessel showcases the reliability and capabilities of LEBW, setting a new standard for the weld-joining of thick-walled components, previously unrivalled in a demonstrator model. Sheffield Forgemasters says it is using LEBW for the first time at this scale, with 100% success and no defects.

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