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February 8, 2023
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Manufacturing

Forgemasters restart Swiss nuclear power plant Magazine

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) has completed manufacturing, research and consultancy work to allow on the list of world’s oldest working nuclear reactors to restart.

SFIL was contracted by plant operator, AXPO, to look into the fundamental cause of ultrasonic indications that were detected during the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) of Unit 1 of the Beznau nuclear power plant (KKB) in Switzerland, that has been taken offline for a few years until confirmed safe by way of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI).

Forgemasters manufactured a significant cylindrical forging, identical to your body of your RPV, using techniques utilized in the initial 1960s manufacture and even acted as engineering and metallurgical consultants, establishing a cause analysis and delivering detailed reports to back up the security case which permitted the reactor to restart.

Professor Jesus Talamantes-Silva, group design and technology director at Sheffield Forgemasters International, said: “This detailed body of provided both AXPO and ENSI with critical pieces of information, permitting them to appraise the current and on-going safety from the RPV.

“Fundamental to the project was the recreation of the ultrasonic indications from the full-scale replica; that was only possible by mimicking the main manufacturing route as faithfully as it can be.

“Using material on the replica, the a reaction to ultrasonic inspection C that is almost identical in the forgings, was related to non-metallic inclusions.

“This finding then allowed the replica to do something to be a surrogate for any Beznau RPV, permitting destructive and non-destructive tests to get executed, which can be not possible to the irradiated RPV.

“This testing established that the non-metallic inclusions were aluminium oxide along with their presence was missing an unfavorable impact on the mechanical properties and as a consequence safety of the RPV.”

As an engineering consultant to your project, Sheffield Forgemasters was the cause of is essential recreating the RPV ring, conducting materials testing and creating a real cause analysis.

The source analysis ruled out a major variety of potential origins on the ultrasonic indications C many of these might well have curtailed/ended the operating duration of the reactor. This, in conjunction with the replica, provided compelling evidence to ENSI and AXPO that this reactor was safe to restart.

Professor Talamantes-Silva added: “There are few companies on the planet using our capacity deliver these kinds of civil nuclear materials consultancy, which happens to be crucially based on the inaccessible RPVs of older power plants and gives a chance to identify manufacturing and age challenges before they become critical.

“This project has allowed the Beznau reactor to restart from a pricey two-year hiatus and helps to ensure that the operational requirements of your power plant are met in the future from the reactor’s life.”

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