Assystem and Nuclear AMRC to collaborate on reactor designs

Assystem and Nuclear AMRC are to collaborate on joint research projects involving Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR), including Small Modular Reactors, and other innovative nuclear technologies.

The organisations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that expresses the common intention to collaborate on research related to improving the cost effectiveness, safety and supportability of future nuclear plants.

The five-year joint research programme will initially focus on exploring the synergies between Assystem’s capabilities in advanced systems engineering and digital asset management and Nuclear AMRC’s research into novel manufacturing technologies.

It is expected a cross-fertilisation between the two entities will create a new body of knowledge that will attract young talents in the nuclear industry and accelerate the development of the AMR business.  The projects will consider how improvements can be delivered at the system level as well at the component level.

Interview: Robert Plana, Assystem’s chief technology officer

Prof Steve Jones, Nuclear AMRC’s chief technology officer, said:New reactor designs present a great opportunity to use advanced manufacturing technologies to reduce cost and ensure construction to schedule, while sustaining the highest integrity and safety levels demanded within our industry.

“Combining our knowledge and capabilities will underpin and accelerate the innovative technology themes we are already working in that encompass joining, machining, modularisation and inspection.”

A recent success from Nuclear AMRC includes news in May, 2018 that its researchers had used advanced techniques to cut the time for rough milling a large nuclear forging by more than 40 per cent.

The research – part of an investigation into forging and fabrication solutions for the energy sector – was led by Sheffield Forgemasters with funding from Innovate UK.

According to Nuclear AMRC, rough milling a large forged component such as a pressure vessel section can take hundreds of hours, even without the time required for set-up, movement and inspection. Reducing that time, while ensuring economic tool life and avoiding any additional manufacturing risks, can significantly increase productivity for parts with relatively high production volumes, such as components for new designs of small modular reactor.

With over 50 years of experience in the nuclear sector, Assystem this week (June 26, 2018) signed a joint venture agreement with Nama Development Enterprises, an Emirati engineering services firm, to partner the United Arab Emirates in the construction and operation of nuclear power plants as part of the UAE’s energy programme.