ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

 
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
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            ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES
            AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE
            UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR
            ELECTRICITY GENERATION

                                            www.materialsktn.net
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
AUTHOR
Dr Kathryn P Jackson
National Metals Technology Centre Ltd (NAMTEC)

DISCLAIMER
The views and judgements expressed in this report reflect the
consensus reached by the author and contributors and do not
necessarily reflect those of the organisation to which they are
affiliated. Whilst every care has been taken in compiling the
information in this report, neither NAMTEC nor the Materials
KTN can be held responsible for any errors, omission or
subsequent use of this information.

FURTHER INFORMATION
Please contact:

Materials KTN Metals and Alloys Group
National Metals Technology Centre Ltd
(NAMTEC)
University of Sheffield Advanced
Manufacturing Research Centre
Wallis Way
Catcliffe
Rotherham
S60 5TZ

T +44(0)114 222 1747
E info@namtec.co.uk
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                                THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Nuclear energy will have a significant role to     seven threats have been identified: uncertainty
play in the UK’s future energy mix, providing      in the economic climate; engagement of Tier 1
a zero-carbon base load alongside a mixture        suppliers; supply of ultra large forgings; global
of renewables and low-carbon fossil fuel           competition; manufacturing capabilities; culture
sources. The UK’s ambitions for nuclear            of quality; and shortage of skills and loss of
energy in 2020 offer significant challenges        knowledge. Overall, the UK is regarded as
and opportunities for UK manufacturing             strong in terms of manufacturing capabilities,
industry; ambitious timescales for new builds
                                                   with some improvement in capacities required
will be progressed to replace existing fleet
                                                   in some areas.
which is close to decommissioning, which
will be followed by further expansion to           Opportunities to alleviate these threats include
increase the UK’s nuclear capacity. The aim        engagement with nuclear OEMs, development
of this Materials KTN review is to highlight the   of the UK’s capacity for ultra large forgings,
opportunities and challenges for materials and     support for Tier 2 to 4 suppliers, and training
manufacturing arising from the UK’s nuclear        and skills. Knowledge transfer with other
new build programme in three areas: supply         high value manufacturing sectors such as
of raw materials; manufacturing supply chain;      oil and gas, aerospace and fossil fuel power
and operations and maintenance. This review        generation will help the UK to develop
has been derived from a combination of a           its capabilities and quality of culture in
stakeholder consultation and literature survey.
                                                   preparation for penetrating the market for
Four areas of potential risk arising from the      nuclear new build.
supply of raw materials have been identified:
                                                   In the area of operations and maintenance,
availability of speciality alloying elements;
                                                   the UK has established capabilities for
availability of certain grades of stainless
                                                   operating and maintaining nuclear plant
steels; the impact of REACH regulations;
and maintaining the traceability of supply of      developed through the UK’s civil nuclear
materials across the supply chain. The risk        legacy. Challenges to the operations and
of supply of speciality alloying elements is       maintenance of new build plant include limited
regarded to be low, whilst the availability of     access to data and knowledge sharing on
down-stream materials is of greater concern        materials for PWRs, and loss of knowledge
to the nuclear industry.                           through aging of personnel.
Opportunities for innovation to mitigate these     Opportunities to mitigate these risks include
risks include consolidation of production of       engagement with international knowledge-
specialised steel grades to mitigate supply        sharing programmes, knowledge retention
chain bottlenecks and improve quality control,     and storage, and development of condition
retention of scarce materials by closed-loop       based monitoring. Knowledge transfer with the
recycling, and quality control of the supply       aerospace and fossil fuel power generation
chain by monitoring and training.                  sectors will help to develop approaches to
In the area of the manufacturing supply chain,     operations and maintenance.

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
    THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    This report has been written by the Materials
    KTN Metals and Alloys Group in co-ordination
    with the Materials UK Energy Materials Working
    Group (EMWG). The author would like to
    express her gratitude to the EMWG alongside
    all other contributors to the stakeholder
    consultation for their input to the report. The
    contributors are listed below.

    Steve Court			                  Nuclear AMRC
    David Hall			                   Nuclear AMRC
    Martin Ride			                  Nuclear AMRC
    Rob Mitchell			                 Rolls-Royce plc
    Juan Matthews		                 UKTI
    Chris Savage			 Nuclear Industry
    				Association (NIA)
    Michael Burke			 Dalton Nuclear
    				Institute

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

CONTENTS

1       Introduction                                                                7

1.1     Trends in the UK Nuclear Energy Landscape                                   8

1.2     Technology Overview                                                         11

2       Supply of Raw Materials                                                     16

2.1     Threats to Supply of Raw Materials                                          17

2.2     Opportunities to Alleviate Threats to Supply of Raw Materials               19

3       Manufacturing Supply Chain                                                  21

3.1     Threats to Manufacturing Supply Chain                                       22

3.2     Opportunities to Alleviate Threats to Manufacturing Supply Chain 30

4       Operations and Maintenance                                                  35

4.1     Threats to Operations and Maintenance                                       36

4.2     Opportunities to Alleviate Threats to Operations and Maintenance 38

5       Conclusions and Recommendations                                             41

References                                                                          44

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                           THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

1 INTRODUCTION
Nuclear power generation will have a          Written by the Materials KTN in co-ordination with the
significant role to play in the UK’s energy   Materials UK Energy Materials Working Group (EMWG),
                                              the aim of this review is to provide a fresh perspective
mix in 2020 and beyond, providing a zero
                                              on the threats and opportunities for the UK’s 2020
carbon base load to supplement a variety
                                              nuclear targets, focussing specifically on materials
of renewable and low-carbon fossil fuel       aspects. The review is based primarily on stakeholder
energy sources. The UK’s existing nuclear     consultation, the contributors to which are listed in the
capacity of around 10GW is predicted          Acknowledgements, with references to supporting
to be mostly be decommissioned by             literature made throughout the text wherever possible.
2020, meaning that the initial focus of       This review will build on the findings of previous
the nuclear new build programme is            reviews of the manufacturing supply chain for nuclear.
to replace the existing capacity before       The UK’s capability to deliver a new nuclear build
expanding capacity. This section outlines     programme was reviewed by the Nuclear Industry
                                              Association (NIA) in 2006 [1] and updated in 2008
the trends in the UK’s nuclear energy
                                              [2]. The review gave a detailed evaluation of the
landscape towards 2020 which are driving
                                              UK’s capability to deliver both the AREVA EPR and
the need for development in materials and     Westinghouse AP1000 designs. A new issue of
manufacturing.                                the report is currently under review and is due to be
                                              released later this year. The supply chain for a nuclear
                                              new build programme was also reviewed by NAMTEC
                                              in 2008 [3], which reviewed both the capability
                                              and capacity of supply chains including aspects of
                                              planning, construction, operation, maintenance, waste
                                              management, and decommissioning of a nuclear
                                              power station.
                                              As part of the introduction, the trends in the UK’s
                                              nuclear energy landscape are outlined in section 1.1.
                                              The technology of future nuclear plant in the UK is
                                              summarised in section 1.2, with the two major plant
                                              designs (Westinghouse AP1000 and AREVA EPR)
                                              considered in sections 1.2.1 and 1.2.2 respectively.
                                              Opportunities and challenges arising from the supply
                                              of raw materials, the manufacturing supply chain and
                                              operations and maintenance are reviewed in sections
                                              2, 3 and 4 respectively. Each section highlights the
                                              threats arising in each of the areas and opportunities
                                              to alleviate these threats through innovation and
                                              knowledge transfer.
                                              Conclusions and recommendations are given in
                                              section 5. References are listed at the end of the
                                              report, with hyperlinks to the original online sources
                                              where possible.

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
    THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

    1.1 TRENDS IN THE UK NUCLEAR ENERGY                      and widely regarded as safe; control of radioactive
    LANDSCAPE                                                waste is well understood and control systems and
                                                             structures are designed to fail-safe and minimise
    The UK currently has ten operational nuclear power       risk. Concerns over safety which were raised by the
    stations, ranging in capacity from 434 to 1210 MW,       Fukushima disaster in 2011 were investigated and
    with a total installed capacity of around 10 GW (Table   found to have no serious implications on the UK’s
    1). Nuclear provided 16% of the UK’s electricity         plans for a nuclear new build programme [4]. It is
    supply in 2010, the third largest contributor to the     for these reasons that nuclear power will continue to
    energy mix (Table 2, Figure 1). Nuclear energy has       make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy
    the advantages of being zero-carbon, economically        mix for the foreseeable future, helping the UK to
    competitive, and producing a steady and controllable     achieve its carbon emissions targets whilst ensuring
    base-load of supply. The technologies involved           that supply continues to meet demand and mitigating
    in nuclear power generation are well-established         future price increases of electricity.

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING THE UK'S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                                                   THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

                                                                         Year of
                                                       Installed      commission or         Cease
      Operator                         Plant                                                                 Reactor type
                                                     Capacity (MW)    year operation      generation
                                                                          began
                                   Dungeness B           1040              1983              2018                 AGR
                                     Hartlepool          1190              1984              2019                 AGR
                                    Heysham 1            1160              1984              2019                 AGR
                                    Heysham 2            1210              1988              2023                 AGR
                                   Hinkley Point B        870              1976              2016                 AGR
     British Energy
                                     Sizewell B          1191              1995              2035                 PWR
                                    Hunterston B          890              1976              2016                 AGR
                                      Torness            1205              1988              2023                 AGR
                                      Oldbury             434              1967              2012                Magnox
                                       Wylfa              980              1971              2012                Magnox
                                  Total installed       10170
                                  capacity (MW)

Table 1

Nuclear power stations
in the UK operational at
the end of May 2011 [5].
Cease dates from [6-7].

          Primary and Secondary
                                                                 GWh                                Percentage
                Production
                        Gas                                      175,003                                46
                        Coal                                     107,694                                28
                      Nuclear                                    62,140                                 16
                Other renewables                                 12,837                                 3
                       Wind                                      10,216                                 3
                            Oil                                   4,860                                 1
                       Hydro                                      3,603                                 1
                       Other                                      1,625                                 0
               Total production                                 377,977

Table 2

Primary and secondary
production of electricity
in the UK in 2010 [5]

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
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     UK Primary Electricity Production 2010, GWh

                            3,603
                  4,860
                                           1,625
         10,216
    12,837
                                                                      Gas
                                                                      Coal
                                                                      Nuclear
             62,140                                                   Other renewables
                                                                      Wind
                                          175,003                     Oil
                                                                      Hydro
                                                                      Other
                  107,694

                                                                  Figure 1

                                                                  Primary and secondary production of
                                                                  electricity in the UK in 2010 [5]

    Seven of the ten nuclear power stations which are             sources, possible scenarios for the future energy
    currently operational in the UK are due to cease              mix have been put forwards by the National Grid [8],
    operation by 2020 (Table 1). The UK has steadily              which predicted that the UK’s capacity for nuclear
    reduced its nuclear capacity over the last two                in 2020 could be between approximately 5 and 10
    decades, with most of the older Magnox reactors               GW, depending on the rate of growth of the various
    reaching the end of their lives. The initial objectives for   energy generation methods. In 2011 the Government
    the nuclear new build programme to 2020 and beyond            suggested that by 2030 new nuclear could contribute
    are therefore to replace the UK’s existing capacity           10–15 GW, with up to 20 GW achievable if build rates
    for nuclear. However, it is possible that the operation       are higher [9]. Industry has announced ambitions
    of the existing fleet may be safely extended for a            to build 16 GW by 2025, and if one reactor could be
    limited period of time to supplement supply whilst the        completed each year from 2019 onwards, it would
    new fleet is built. This will be dictated by materials        be possible to reach around 20 GW by 2030 [9]. The
    degradation issues, and hence understanding of                total new build programme is predicted to consist of
    materials will be essential to underpin any possible          approximately 8 plants, with the first one likely to be
    lifetime extension.                                           Hinkley Point C (3,260 MW output) operated by EdF
    The UK government is committed to a low-carbon                Energy, which is currently the subject of a nuclear site
    economy and transitions in the UK energy mix will             licence application [10] due for completion before
    make a significant contribution to this. The UK is            the end of 2012. EdF will not give a target date for
    setting a leading example for low-carbon energy               generation until after it has made its final investment
    generation by supporting innovation and development           decision [11], but this is likely to be set a few years
    of skills in energy technology which have the potential       behind its previously stated date 2017. Electricity
    to be a major facilitator of economic growth in the           generated by nuclear is currently cost-competitive with
    immediate term, whilst providing a sustainable,               other electricity generation technologies, and recent
    affordable and low-carbon energy supply in the longer         independent studies indicate that new nuclear is likely
    term. The coming decades will be an exciting and              to become the least expensive generation technology
    dynamic time for the UK’s energy industry, with the           in the future [9].
    low carbon transition mainly facilitated through rapid
                                                                  Despite the UK’s clear commitment towards a nuclear
    growth in offshore wind, carbon capture and storage
                                                                  new build programme, progress has been hampered
    and new nuclear.
                                                                  by economic uncertainty and the Fukushima disaster.
    Although the UK government has not defined targets            Plans for the second plant at Wylfa in Anglesey had
    for the UK’s future energy mix with the aim of leaving        been expected to be submitted by Horizon Nuclear
    the market open for competition from different energy         power (joint venture of E.ON UK and RWEnpower).

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
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However, in March 2012 Horizon withdrew its plans for         1.2 TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
nuclear new build at Wylfa due to uncertain economic
conditions and the accelerated nuclear phase out              Two designs have passed generic design assessment
in Germany [12]. As a result, plans for nuclear new           (GDA) in the UK and therefore can be used for
build in the UK have been delayed from the 15-year            the UK’s new nuclear fleet: the Westinghouse
timelines that were initially projected in 2010, and          AP1000 (1154 MWe) [13] and the AREVA European
a revised timeline of development is impossible to            Pressurised Reactor (EPR) (>1650 MWe) [14].
predict with any certainty at this stage. The delays          Both designs are Generation III+ pressurised
have placed additional pressure on the timescales for         water reactors (PWRs) and are based on similar
completion and commissioning of the new nuclear               technologies and materials. However, there are
plants, and extended safe operation of aging fleet may        some fundamental differences in the designs which
be necessary to support the early build phases of the         will have implications on the required capabilities of
new nuclear fleet.                                            the supply chain, the manufacturing processes and
                                                              the method of construction. The technologies of
                                                              these two designs and the key issues related to their
                                                              manufacturing are summarised in this section.

Figure 2

Basic principle of operation of a pressurised
water reactor (PWR) based on [5]

                                       Steam Generator
       Pressurised
       water reactor                                         Steam

           Control
            rods
                                                               Turbine
        Reactor
         core                                                                        Generator        Electricity

                                                                Water

                                                                         Condensor
                                         Hot water

                                Containment Structure

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
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    The basic principle of operation of a PWR is illustrated    etc, and hence increases construction costs
    in Figure 2. In a PWR the primary coolant (water)           and complexity. The reactor pressure vessel is
    is pumped under high pressure to the reactor core           manufactured from ductile steel but as the plant is
    where it is heated by the energy generated by the           operated neutron flux from the reactor causes this
    fission of atoms. The heated water then flows to a          steel to become less ductile (radiation embrittlement).
    steam generator where it transfers its thermal energy       Eventually the ductility of the steel will reach limits
    to a secondary system through a large number of             determined by the applicable boiler and pressure
    narrow tubes which act as a heat exchanger. This            vessel standards, and the pressure vessel must be
    generates steam in the secondary circuit which              repaired or replaced. This might not be practical or
    turns a steam turbine which, in turn, spins an electric     economic, and so determines the life of the plant.
    generator. After passing through the turbine the            A further risk associated with PWRs is the need for
    secondary coolant (water-steam mixture) is cooled           ongoing cooling for one to three years after shut
    down and condensed in a condenser before being              down to avoid overheating and meltdown. If the
    pumped back to the steam generator as feedwater,            primary coolant is lost (as in the Fukushima disaster
    prior to which it is sometimes preheated to minimise        in 2011) the zirconium alloy used for casing the
    thermal shock. The condenser maintains a vacuum             nuclear fuel rods can reach very high temperatures
    at the turbine outlet so that the pressure drop across      (above 2200oC), at which it spontaneously explodes
    the turbine, and hence the energy extracted from the        in contact with water, producing hydrogen and oxygen
    steam, is maximised.                                        and therefore hydrogen explosions.
    PWRs constitute the majority of all western nuclear power
    plants and are favoured for the following reasons:
                                                                1.2.1   Westinghouse AP1000
    || The primary and secondary steam circuits are
       separated, and hence the transfer of radioactivity       The Westinghouse AP1000 is the only Generation
       from the reactor core to the steam turbine is            III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from
       mitigated                                                the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
                                                                [13]. Around half of the world’s 440 nuclear plants
    || PWRs are inherently stable and therefore safer
                                                                are based on Westinghouse technology. The
       than other designs because they produce
                                                                Westinghouse design is rated at 1154MW, slightly
       less power as temperatures increase because
                                                                smaller than the APR at >1650 MWe, which
       pressurised water is used as the moderator and
                                                                allows for modular construction (Figure 3). Safety
       primary coolant
                                                                systems unique to the AP1000 include the passive
    || PWRs operate with a fail-safe design because             containment cooling water tank held above the
       in the event that power is lost the control rods         reactor core for release in an emergency (4 on Figure
       drop by gravity because they are held by                 3) and the steel containment vessel which surrounds
       electromagnets, and therefore shut down the              the nuclear island (3 on Figure 3).
       primary nuclear reaction                                 Westinghouse achieved significant improvements
    Whilst the design of the PWR offers a range of              in the number of components, volume of materials
    advantages in terms of safety and operation, this           and construction time of the AP1000 in comparison
    is accompanied by materials challenges. The high            to earlier Westinghouse designs. The construction
    pressure of the primary coolant water requires high         period is approximately 36 months from the pouring of
    strength piping, a heavy pressure vessel, reactor           the first concrete to the loading of fuel. Savings in the
    coolant pumps, pressuriser, steam generators,               materials and construction are illustrated in Figure 4.

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                                       THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

                                                               1. Fuel-handling Area            7.    Reactor Vessel
                                                               2. Concrete Shield Building      8.    Integrated Head Package
                                                               3. Steel Containment             9.    Pressuriser
                                                               4. Passive Containment Cooling   10.   Main Control Room
                                                                  Water Tank                    11.   Feedwater Pumps
                                                               5. Steam Geneartors (2)          12.   Turbine Genearator
                                                               6. Reactor Coolant Pumps (4)

Figure 3

Sectional 3D view of Westinghouse
AP1000 [16]. Image courtesy of
Westinghouse Electric Company

Figure 4

Savings in the materials and
construction of the Westinghouse
AP1000 [16]. Image courtesy of
Westinghouse Electric Company

                                    50% Fewer    35% Fewer      80% Less                    45% Less                     85% Less
                                      Valves    Safety Grade      Pipe                   Seismic Building                  Cable
                                                   Pumps                                     Volume

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
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    1.2.2 AREVA EPR

    The AREVA European Pressurised Reactor (EPR)
    (Figure 5) is the first Generation III+ reactor to be
    deployed on an international scale, being built in
    three different countries. The EPR is rated at a higher
    capacity than the Westinghouse AP1000 at around
    1650 MWe. The method of construction of the EPR is
    therefore more strongly focussed on assembly on site
    rather than modular construction off site. The EPR is
    currently under construction in Finland (Olkiluoto), in
    France (Flamanville) and in China (2 units in Taishan),
    and is currently undergoing certification in the United
    States and the UK [14]. EdF has applied for a nuclear
    site licence for the AREVA EPR at Hinkley Point C,
    and hence the EPR is likely to be the first Generation
    III+ reactor built as part of the nuclear new build
    programme in the UK.

                                                                  Figure 5

                                                                  Sectional 3D view of the AREVA
                                                                  EPR [17]. Courtesy of AREVA.
                                                                  © Image et Process – AREVA

                                                                  1: Reactor building reinforced
                                                                  concrete shell

                                                                  2: Reactor building metallic liner

                                                                  3: Reactor vessel

                                                                  4: Steam generators

                                                                  5: Pressuriser

                                                                  6: Reactor coolant pumps

                                                                  7: Corium spreading area

                                                                  8: Turbine building

                                                                  9: Diesel generators

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2 SUPPLY OF
RAW MATERIALS
A wide range of materials will be used in         2.1 THREATS TO SUPPLY OF RAW MATERIALS
the UK’s new nuclear fleet. Beyond the            Threats to the supply of raw materials for the UK’s
vast quantities of concrete used in the           2020 nuclear targets are reviewed in this section.
construction of the plant, the majority           Four areas for potential threats are discussed below:
of materials will be steels, with coatings        the availability of speciality alloying elements; the
used to enhance performance where                 availability of specific grades of stainless steel; the
necessary. Four areas of potential threats        impact of REACH regulations; and maintaining the
                                                  traceability of materials through the supply chain.
in the supply of raw materials have been
identified: availability of speciality alloying   2.1.1 Availability of Speciality Alloying Elements
elements; availability of certain grades          The availability of raw materials that constitute the
of stainless steel; the impact of REACH           alloys used in nuclear plant has previously been
regulations; and maintaining traceability         investigated by Oakdene Hollins on behalf of the JRC
of supply of materials through the                European Commission in 2011 [18]. A total of 21
supply chain. Opportunities to alleviate          speciality metals were identified used in a variety of
                                                  components in nuclear reactors. The starting point for
these threats include consolidation of
                                                  this review was to ascertain through the stakeholder
production of specialised steel grades,           consultation whether any of these risks associated
retention of scarce materials through             with the availability of speciality alloying elements are
closed-loop recycling; and quality control        perceived to be a threat to the nuclear industry.
of the supply chain. These threats and            The consensus of opinion obtained through the
opportunities are discussed below.                consultation was that, although constraints in the
                                                  availability of these materials caused by economic
                                                  or political factors may cause increases in the prices
                                                  of these materials, these price increases can be
                                                  accommodated by the nuclear industry. Application
                                                  of alternative compositions of materials is generally
                                                  regarded as not an option for the safety-conscious
                                                  nuclear industry in which confidence in designs is
                                                  developed through lengthy testing of known materials;
                                                  the risks associated with substitution of materials
                                                  outweigh the cost increases associated with the
                                                  continued use of materials with constrained supply.
                                                  The levels of risk that have previously been associated
                                                  with the availability of raw materials are further
                                                  mitigated by decreases in demand in comparison
                                                  to earlier projections, which is likely to be a result
                                                  of constrained economic growth and the curtailing
                                                  of nuclear plans in several countries following the
                                                  Fukushima disaster. This suggests that demands
                                                  are not currently causing shortages or lead time
                                                  lengthening. However, if economic demand continues

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ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
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     to be weak this may lead to some reductions in             the quantities of certain specialised grades required
     output, which could subsequently lead to price             by individual manufacturers may not be enough to
     increases.                                                 constitute a full melt (around 500 t) in themselves,
     Where availability of raw materials could be perceived     and therefore bottlenecks in supply may occur; (3)
     as a risk for other industries, the nuclear industry is    older grades that have largely been superseded by
     in a strong position of influence to secure supply due     newer grades elsewhere may still be used in some
     to its large market size, ability to absorb increases in   areas by the conservative nuclear industry where
     cost, and its demand for primary products as well as       tried-and-tested materials are not always substituted
     by-products of extraction. For example, the largest        by alternatives, hence leading to bottlenecks in supply
     use of zirconium is in the nuclear industry for fuel       (e.g. 304 has largely been superseded by 316 which
     cladding due to its low neutron absorption coefficient,    has superior corrosion resistance).
     whilst a by-product of zirconium production is             2.1.3 Impact of REACH Regulations
     hafnium which is also used extensively in the
     nuclear industry due to its high neutron absorption        The impact of REACH regulations is regarded
     coefficient for nuclear shielding applications. Hence      as a risk affecting the use and supply of raw
     continued demand for zirconium helps to sustain            materials for the nuclear industry. The introduction
     the supply of hafnium, whilst the supply of both is        of REACH regulations in Europe necessitates the
     largely concentrated in the countries which have the       rapid development and introduction of alternative
     strongest nuclear programmes.                              materials or manufacturing processes which meet the
                                                                required safety and environmental standards, offering
     2.1.2 Availability of Grades of Stainless Steels
                                                                opportunities for innovation across the manufacturing
     Availability of certain grades of stainless steels         supply chain. However, the rapid implementation of
     was highlighted as a potential threat through the          changes is at odds with the conservative and risk-
     stakeholder consultation. The majority of steels           aware nuclear industry, in which tried and tested
     that are used in nuclear power stations are nuclear        materials and processes are preferred to minimise
     grades of low alloy steels (with limits on the content     risk. An example of this is electroplating of cobalt in
     of Cu, Ni, S and P due to radiation embrittlement).        valves and pumps which may be replaced with vapour
     More specialised grades that are used in nuclear           deposition as a result of REACH regulations.
     power stations include SA508 and SA533 (plate and
     forgings for shelves, heads, bodies, primary pipework,     2.1.4 Maintaining Traceability of Supply of Materials
     reactor pressure vessel (RPV), pumps and steam             across the Supply Chain
     generator), austenitic stainless grades 316 (used for      A threat to the nuclear industry that has been
     weld overlay cladding, typically 6mm thickness) and        reiterated across other power generation sectors is
     304, martensitic stainless grades 403, 410, 416 (pump      the propensity for sub-standard materials to enter
     shafts, turbine blades) and martensitic precipitation      the supply chain, either as a result of deliberate
     hardening grades 600 and 690 (steam generator              counterfeiting or inadequate knowledge of quality
     tubes, exchanger tubing, pressuriser).                     control procedures amongst suppliers. The threat
     Three reasons have been highlighted why the                is particularly acute for safety-critical components
     availability of the above grades of steel for the UK’s     such as high pressure and temperature steam supply
     nuclear new build programme could be compromised:          systems. OEMs generally have less control over
     (1) demand from the UK may compete with growing            the lower tiers of the supply chain, and materials
     demand from other countries which simultaneously           that originate from China or India are recognised as
     execute ambitious nuclear new build programmes; (2)        particularly strong risks.

10   www.materialsktn.net
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                                         THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

2.2 OPPORTUNITIES TO ALLEVIATE THREATS TO                   have been highlighted for offshore wind [19] and
SUPPLY OF RAW MATERIALS                                     combined cycle gas turbine power generation [20].
                                                            For example, improved retention of chromium,
Three opportunities to alleviate threats to the supply of   molybdenum, vanadium and nickel through closed-
raw materials have been identified: (1) consolidation       loop recycling of steels from a range of applications
of production of specialised steel grades; (2) retention    could help to mitigate price increases and maintain
of scarce materials through closed-loop recycling;          availability into the future. Note that closed loop
and (3) quality control of the supply chain. These          recycling from the nuclear industry itself is unlikely to
areas are discussed below.                                  be able to contribute to this due to the low number
2.2.1 Demand Aggregation of Specialised Steel Grades        and long lifetime of nuclear plants, the need for careful
                                                            processing of radioactive waste, and the variety of
There is the potential to improve control over the          designs that have been used in the UK’s nuclear
quality of raw materials and mitigate bottlenecks in        legacy.
supply by consolidating the bill of materials to enable
the material for several components to be produced          2.2.3 Quality Control of the Supply Chain
in a single melt from a single known supplier, where        Control of quality in the supply chain is an opportunity
the quality and composition are closely monitored.          to alleviate risk arising from the supply of raw
Whilst diversity of suppliers for steel is desirable        materials. The supply chain is already acutely aware
to reduce cost through open competition, it is              of the need to monitor and control quality to prevent
possible that consolidation of requirements of some         the infiltration of sub-standard or counterfeit material,
specialised grades for safety-critical applications         which is particularly concerning for safety-critical
could help to control quality whilst also ensuring that     and high integrity components such as the nuclear
bottlenecks in supply are mitigated by increasing the       steam supply system (NSS) and secondary steam
total volume of material required from a single melt.       circuit. The higher tiers of the supply chain already
This would require co-ordination across the supply          take a pro-active approach towards monitoring and
chain to allow the materials requirements for a range       improving quality from their suppliers, which includes
of components fabricated by a range of suppliers            spot checks on material compositions alongside
to be brought together. Sourcing of materials for           training of quality procedures to improve the skills of
components is currently carried out by a large number       their suppliers. This approach is effective although it
of companies across the supply chain to meet their          places additional demands on resources from top-tier
individual requirements and commercial sensitivity          manufacturing companies, which are likely to become
restricts communication between these various facets        increasingly challenged over the coming decade
of the supply chain. Hence consolidation of the             as the nuclear supply chain expands. Ensuring the
bill of materials across the supply chain could be a        availability of suitably skilled and qualified quality
challenge without the assistance of OEMs at the top         engineers will help to alleviate this risk.
level.
2.2.2 Retention of Scarce Materials through Closed-
Loop Recycling
Whilst the availability of speciality alloying elements
is not considered to be a significant risk for the UK’s
2020 nuclear targets, the availability of materials
in the long term could be improved by retention
through closed-loop recycling. Similar opportunities

                                                                                               www.materialsktn.net     11
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
     THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

     3 MANUFACTURING
     SUPPLY CHAIN
     Manufacturing of components and sub-                                   3.1 THREATS TO MANUFACTURING
     assemblies for the UK’s nuclear new                                    SUPPLY CHAIN
     build programme offers considerable                                    The manufacturing supply chain for nuclear can
     opportunities and challenges for the UK’s                              be categorised into at least four tiers: Tier 1 –
     manufacturing industry. Seven areas of                                 technology suppliers and architect engineers; Tier
     potential threats have been identified:                                2 – large companies with nuclear experience; Tier
                                                                            3 – smaller mechanical or electrical equipment
     uncertainty in the economic climate;
                                                                            suppliers and niche service providers; and Tier 4
     engagement of Tier 1 suppliers; supply of                              – raw material or basic component suppliers. The
     ultra large forgings; global competition;                              origin of this hierarchy is the licensees, e.g. EdF
     manufacturing capabilities; culture of                                 Energy. Vendor companies such as AREVA and
     quality; and availability of skills. Four                              Westinghouse are focused on design, engineering
     opportunities to alleviate these threats                               and project management. In general, the number of
     have been identified: engagement with                                  companies at each tier and hence the propensity for
                                                                            competition in the market place and diversification
     nuclear OEMs; development of the
                                                                            in manufacturing methods increases as the level of
     UK’s capacity for ultra large forgings;                                the tiers increases (Figure 6). The supply chain for
     support for Tier 2, 3 and 4 suppliers;                                 nuclear is global, and hence UK companies that
     and training and skills. These threats                                 participate in the nuclear industry are competing on
     and opportunities are discussed in this                                an international level.
     section.

     Figure 6

     Nuclear new build market                                  •EDF Energy/Centrica
     structure. Based on a diagram                             •Horizon Nuclear Power
     by Doosan Babcock in [21]               Licensees         •NuGeneration Ltd

                                                                        •Nuclear Power Delivery UK
                                              Tier 1 -
                                                                        •Westinghouse
                                           Technology                   •Toshiba
                                        Suppliers, Architect            •Shaw Group
                                           Engineers                    •Laing O’Rourke

                                              Tier 2 -                           •Civil Enabling Works
                                                                                 •Main Civil Contractors
                                       Large Companies with
                                                                                 •Marine Works
                                        Nuclear Experience                       •Infrastructure Works

                                                                                            •Mechanical Equipment Suppliers
                                              Tier 3 -
                                                                                            •Electrical Equipment Suppliers
                                  Smaller Mechanical or Electrical                          •EC&I Installation Companies
                            Equipment Suppliers, Niche Service Providers                    •Mechanical Installation Companies

                                               Tier 4

12   www.materialsktn.net
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                                         THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

Supply chain challenges are different for                  This was in spite of a clear commitment towards
Westinghouse and AREVA due to the sizes of the             nuclear new build from the UK Government; it was
plants, the way that they are constructed, and             economic rather than political factors that were the
their strategic plans for supply chain development.        major influence on Horizon’s decision.
Westinghouse hopes to source everything locally
                                                           The consensus of opinion across the manufacturing
from the UK, which will present opportunities but
                                                           supply chain is that there is a need to develop their
place pressure on suppliers. The Westinghouse
                                                           knowledge and capabilities in preparation for a
AP1000 is smaller than the AREVA EPR at 1154 MW,
                                                           nuclear new build programme now, but investment to
and therefore can use modular construction. This
                                                           expand capacities is expensive and therefore will not
means that large sub-assemblies can be assembled
                                                           take place to its full extent until the market is at a more
off site, e.g. in shipyards, and there are significant
                                                           advanced state of readiness. In the first instance,
opportunities for plate materials, pipes and joists for
                                                           this will be after EdF Energy has achieved its nuclear
skid-mounted modules. UK shipyards are already
                                                           site license for Hinkley Point C and civil engineering
preparing to address this need through international
                                                           works are underway. The timing of investment poses
consortiums. In contrast, AREVA reactors are much
                                                           a challenge for UK companies in comparison to
larger (1500MW) and therefore must be fabricated
                                                           companies in other countries which already have
onsite. There is less opportunity for modular
                                                           large capacities and established track records in the
construction, but significant opportunities in terms
of pumps and pipework for the turbine island. The          nuclear supply chain; UK companies need to develop
rapid expansion and upskilling required for nuclear        the capabilities and capacities to manufacture
new build from both AREVA and Westinghouse                 for nuclear in enough time to win business whilst
will necessitate a high level of technology transfer,      postponing large scale investment until a high level of
innovation of new technologies and investment in           certainty is achieved to mitigate investment risk. The
capacities, and therefore the opportunities for the UK     first UK contracts for Hinkley C are likely to be won in
supply chain are considerable.                             mid to late 2013.

This section considers the threats to the UK’s 2020        Whilst most companies are not yet ready for large
targets for nuclear arising from the manufacturing         scale investment, some Tier 1 suppliers already have
supply chain. Seven areas of potential threats have        the confidence at this stage to invest in capacity for
been identified through the stakeholder consultation:      nuclear new build, and example being Rolls-Royce
uncertainty in the economic climate; engagement of         which is planning to build a factory in Rotherham
Tier 1 suppliers; supply of ultra large forgings; global   adjacent to the Nuclear AMRC [22]. The commitment
competition; manufacturing capabilities; culture of        of companies such as Rolls-Royce will help to build
quality; and shortage of skills and loss of knowledge.     confidence at lower tiers of the UK supply chain.
These are discussed further below.                         3.1.2 Engagement of Tier 1 Suppliers
3.1.1 Uncertainty in the Economic Climate                  The engagement of Tier 1 suppliers is regarded
Uncertainty in the economic climate is an overarching      as essential in securing the UK’s place in the
threat which is stifling investment at all tiers of the    manufacturing supply chain for nuclear. It is
manufacturing supply chain for nuclear in response to      recognised that the winning of major supply
increased risk. As highlighted in Section 1.1, in March    contracts by leading Tier 1 suppliers such as Rolls-
2012 Horizon withdrew its plans for nuclear new            Royce, Doosan Babcock, BAE Systems, Sheffield
build at Wylfa in the UK due to uncertain economic         Forgemasters, Wyman Gordon and Balfour Beatty will
conditions and the accelerated nuclear phase out in        help to ensure that more UK companies are recruited
Germany as a result of the Fukushima disaster [12].        as Tier 2 to 4 suppliers.

                                                                                               www.materialsktn.net      13
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
     THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

     It is widely regarded that the UK’s Tier 1 suppliers       IFA and Firth Rixson, and large forgings such as the
     are well prepared for engagement in the nuclear            primary pipework for the pressuriser and main coolant
     supply chain, and as a result there are no support         pump through Sheffield Forgemasters Limited (SFL),
     programmes specifically aimed at the top tier of           the UK does not have the capacity to manufacture the
     the supply chain, although Tier 1 suppliers are            largest forgings required for nuclear, including casting
     developing the technical capability to compete on          the required size ingots.
     cost, quality and delivery through membership of the
     Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre             The number of suppliers of ultra large forgings is
     (Nuclear AMRC) [23]. Whilst the UK’s capabilities and      limited to a few suppliers worldwide, and individual
     capacities to manufacture for nuclear have diminished      large presses have a low throughput of around four
     over the previous two decades, capabilities and            pressure vessels per year, though the potential is
     capacities have been retained particularly strongly        greater than this. A summary of the world’s forging
     amongst the top tier of the supply chain as a result       capacity for large pressure vessels is given in Table 3.
     of supply to the new build programmes of other             The limited number of suppliers of ultra large forgings
     countries, the ongoing maintenance programmes              is generally not regarded as a bottleneck in the
     of the UK’s existing nuclear fleet, and the UK’s           nuclear new build programmes of the UK or other
     nuclear submarines. Tier 1 suppliers are generally         countries. Although in 2009 Westinghouse was
     well equipped for nuclear new build in terms of            restricted in that the AP1000 pressure vessel closure
     accreditation for the nuclear industry, a culture of       head and three complex steam generator parts could
     quality, the relevant skills and expertise, and an         only be made by Japan Steel Works, the demand for
     established track record in the global market place.       large forgings has been reduced by the curtailing of
     The UK’s newest nuclear reactor, Sizewell B, which         nuclear plans from several countries following the
     was commissioned in 1995, allowed the UK to                Fukushima disaster, and the capacity of many of
     acquire and retain some knowledge of PWR systems,          the forging presses is predicted to increase to 2013
     although the designs of the new-build PWRs will have       as a result of investment, as shown in Table 3. The
     some considerable differences to Sizewell B and the        manufacture of large forgings for nuclear new build
     supply chain structure has changed significantly.          is carefully scheduled to ensure that enough time is
     3.1.3 Supply of Ultra Large Forgings                       allowed, for instance some large forgings for Hinkley
                                                                C have already been ordered from La Creuset forge in
     The area that has been identified as the greatest
                                                                France and Japan Steel Works.
     threat arising from Tier 1 supply in the UK is ultra-
     large forgings, which require forging presses of           A greater concern arising from the supply of ultra large
     around 14-15,000 tonnes and capacity to accept             forgings is that the UK’s incapacity to deliver in this
     hot steel ingots of 500-600 tonnes [24]. A defining        area may mean that the UK also loses opportunities to
     feature of Generation III+ reactors is the need for        supply at lower tiers of the supply chain. An example
     larger integral forgings; around twice the amount          of this would be the RPV head; if the forging of the
     of large forgings are required by Generation III+          head takes place overseas, it is more likely that the
     reactors than Generation II, and integral forgings are     drive assembly for the control rods attached to the
     preferred to welded split forgings. The UK does not        RPV head will do also.
     have the capability to deliver forgings of this size for
                                                                3.1.4 Global Competition
     components such as the reactor pressure vessel
     (RPV) head, steam generator and large turbine. Whilst      The competiveness of UK suppliers in the global
     the UK has the capability to deliver small to medium       market for nuclear is highly renowned as a result of the
     sized forgings through a range of suppliers such as        UK’s long-established expertise developed through

14   www.materialsktn.net
MATERIALS KTN TECHNICAL TEXTILES:
                                                                                  DEVELOPMENTS IN OLYMPIC CLOTHING AND TEXTILES

Table 3

Summary of world forging
capability for large pressure
vessels. Courtesy of Rob
Mitchell, Rolls-Royce plc [24]

                                                           Heavy forging             Heavy forging by       Max. ingot - tonnes
  Country or region                  Company
                                                          press mid 2009                  2013                    (2013)
                                   Japan Steel Works            14,000 t                  14,000 t x 2           600 (650)
                                         JCFC                                          13,000 t from 2010           500
             Japan
                                                          Nil, uses forgings to
                                          MHI
                                                              make RPVs
          South Korea                   Doosan                  13,000 t               17,000 t from 2010           540
                                   China First Heavy
                                                           15,000 t, 12,500 t                same                   600
                                   Industries (CFHI)
                                     Harbin Boiler               8000 t                      same
             China
                                    Shanghai (SEC)              12,000 t                    16,500 t                600
                                   China Erzhong +
                                                           12,700 t, 16,000 t                same                   600
                                       Dongfang
                                          L&T                    9000 t                     15,000 t            600 (in 2011)
             India                       BHEL                                               10,000 t
                                     Bharat Forge                                           14,000 t
                                   AREVA, SFARsteel             11,300 t                     same                   250
                                 Sheffield Forgemasters
                                                                10,000 t                   15,000 t ?              500 ?
                                        Limited
                                      Pilsen Steel         100 MN (10,200 t)                12,000 t             200 (250)
            Europe
                                       Vitkovice                12,000 t                     same
                                     Saarschmiede                8670 t                12,000 t (in 2010)           370
                                                          Nil, uses forgings to
                                         ENSA
                                                              make RPVs
             USA                        Lehigh                  10,000 t                     same                   270
                                      OMZ Izhora                12,000 t                    15,000 t                600
            Russia
                                      ZiO-Podolsk
          South Africa                DCD-Dorbyl

our nuclear submarines, design and operation of our                   However, competition in the expanding global market
existing nuclear power plants, our current participation              place for nuclear against established suppliers
in nuclear supply chains for other countries, and our                 remains a formidable challenge for UK manufacturing
renowned expertise for high-value manufacturing                       companies. Expansion of UK companies to the
acquired through other sectors including oil and                      required capacities may take place at a late stage to
gas and aerospace. UK companies are preferred                         mitigate investment risk, placing overseas companies
to overseas suppliers in many areas of the nuclear                    that already have the required capacities in a stronger
supply chain due to our trusted culture for quality and               position to penetrate supply chains for nuclear new
ability to deliver reliably to the required price, quality            build. A specific challenge is developing an ‘export
and timescale.                                                        package’ derived from a fully integrated supply chain,

                                                                                                            www.materialsktn.net   15
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
     THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

     from raw material to finished component manufacture.      all forged components and tubing materials to supply
     Components that will be required in large quantities      its own needs and that of other countries, although
     include extruded steel pipework, joists and plates.       its rate of growth in the nuclear sector is lower than
     Pumps and valves will offer significant opportunities,    China’s.
     with around 8000 valves in around 20 packages
                                                               3.1.5 Manufacturing Capabilities
     required for the AREVA EPR and over 5400 valves
     required for the Westinghouse AP1000.                     Improvement of manufacturing capabilities to achieve
                                                               the required quality standards for nuclear products
     An example of the challenge associated with capacity
                                                               is a formidable challenge and opportunity for UK
     expansion is the manufacture of stainless steel           manufacturing companies at all tiers of the supply
     pipework for the primary circuit. Sandvik Materials       chain. This is because, whilst the technology and
     Technology [25] and Valinox Nucléaire [26] are            processes for manufacturing to the high integrities
     established suppliers in this market, and it is a         required for nuclear already exist elsewhere in the
     considerable challenge for UK companies to compete        global supply chain, these technologies are generally
     alongside them even when the can already achieve          proprietary and therefore the UK is required to
     the required quality. A further example is the major      innovate its own technologies that can achieve or
     primary circuit large bore thick walled pipework, where   exceed the required quality whilst also competing
     Germany is already better placed in this market than      on cost to achieve competitiveness in the global
     the UK.                                                   market place. The nuclear industry is notoriously
     The UK has strong competitors for nuclear new             conservative and risk aware, which has stifled
     build from within Europe where cost competiveness,        development in some areas in recent years, but
     capacity and track record are challenges. Italy is        also plays to the UK’s advantage because there
     regarded as more cost competitive than the UK, with       is the opportunity to accelerate rapidly through a
     four to six companies that are already established        learning curve facilitated by knowledge transfer
     in forging, casting and heat treatment for nuclear.       with other high-value manufacturing sectors and
     The Czech Republic and France are formidable              innovation. Key challenges for manufacturing process
     competitors, both with fully integrated supply chains     development include high quality forgings, machining,
     from supply of raw materials to manufacture, and the      weld cladding, welding, fuel cladding and powder
     ability to supply to the UK market whilst competing       technologies. These challenges are summarised
     on cost. Finland, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia and         below.
     Spain also have strongly established supply chains        High Quality Forgings
     for nuclear and are competitive in the supply of ASME
     accredited materials for nuclear.                         A significant challenge is manufacture of forgings
                                                               that have the required properties and microstructure,
     Outside Europe, many countries which already have         are machined to tolerance, assembled by high
     operational nuclear plant, e.g. China, Japan, India       quality welds, and can maintain integrity in exposure
     and Korea, have developed capabilities for supply         to radiation, temperature, pressure, corrosion and
     for nuclear through repairing and maintaining their       erosion for 60 years.
     own plants which were originally supplied by other
                                                               Machining
     countries. China has a rapid rate of development for
     nuclear but is more likely to focus its attentions on     Machining to high tolerances including deep hole
     supplying to its own nuclear new build programme          boring is a key challenge area for manufacturing. The
     than other countries. India is competitive on cost and    recently-opened Nuclear AMRC is addressing this with
     has its own forge with the capability to manufacture      the use of state-of-the art machining centres and the

16   www.materialsktn.net
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
                                                         THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

support of leading machining companies.                    online in 2013 for the UK to assist with material de-
                                                           risking in support of nuclear new build.
Weld Cladding
                                                           3.1.6 Culture of Quality
New methods of laser weld cladding are being
developed to deposit a lining of stainless steel in        A culture of quality is paramount across all levels of
the primary steam supply system to protect from            the nuclear supply chain. It is widely regarded that
corrosion and erosion.                                     manufacturing companies that are already engaged
                                                           in high-value manufacturing for other sectors such
Welding
                                                           as oil and gas, aerospace and fossil fuel power
Welding poses some significant challenges for              generation are well prepared for making the transition
manufacturing including narrow gap welding using           to the nuclear industry, although it is perceived to be a
lasers and high-integrity transition welds between low     greater challenge for small to medium size companies
alloy steels and transition steels at the connection of    that are at lower tiers of the supply chain.
the pipework with the reactor.                             Two main internationally recognised accreditation
Fuel Cladding                                              systems are used for nuclear: the American Society
                                                           of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) ‘N’ stamp and
The fuel cladding material currently used for PWRs
                                                           RCC-N developed in France. N-stamp accreditation
is Zircalloy due to its very low neutron absorption
                                                           means that the authorised vendor has produced the
coefficient, adequate strength and resistance to
                                                           commercial nuclear grade components in accordance
corrosion in the operating temperature range.
                                                           with the ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Nuclear
However, the temperature range of Zircalloy limits the
                                                           Codes and Standards. It applies to both design and
operating temperature range of the reactor, and if the
                                                           fabrication of components, but is only likely to be
material overheats it loses its strength rapidly due       mandatory by companies and contractors involved
to ballooning whilst reacting with water to produce        in the supply of safety critical components. RCC-N
hydrogen. If the hydrogen leaks into the surround          is used outside the USA for nuclear mechanical and
building, it can produce an explosive mixture with air     pressure components. Specifications of components
which is what caused the explosions in the Fukushima       will be developed by the project lead contractors and
disaster of 2011. As a result alternative fuel cladding    then fed down the supply chain ultimately arriving
materials are being researched in addition to coatings     with the companies tasked with the production of the
which would slow down the rate of reaction of Zircalloy    components. Suppliers will be required to provide
with water. One alternative material that is receiving     a manufacturing and quality plan for approval which
attention is carbon-silicon carbide composites. This       must then be adhered to during the manufacturing
has the potential to operate at up to 400oC higher than    process. A summary of the two nuclear accreditations
Zircalloy.                                                 is given in Table 4.
Powder Technologies                                        3.1.7 Shortage of Skills and Loss of Knowledge
Powder based (hot isostatically pressed or HIP’d)
                                                           Availability of skills is widely recognised as a concern
technologies will have a significant role to play
                                                           for the UK manufacturing supply chain for nuclear. A
in the nuclear industry of the future as a result of
                                                           rapid increase in the numbers of skilled personnel
improvement in mechanical properties and reduction
of material wastage and hence cost. Work on code           employed in the nuclear manufacturing sector will
case development for powder based technologies             be required to facilitate the growth anticipated in the
are rapidly advancing and the Nuclear AMRC will be         manufacturing supply chain, whilst also retaining the
bringing HIPing technology development capabilities        knowledge of ageing personnel who are approaching

                                                                                              www.materialsktn.net     17
ENERGY MATERIALS: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES IN ATTAINING
     THE UK’S 2020 TARGETS FOR NUCLEAR ELECTRICITY GENERATION

                                     RCC-M                                                ASME
                                                               Section III Rule for Construction of Nuclear Facility
               Section 1 Nuclear Island Components
                                                                                    Components
                           A General Requirements                             NCA General requirements
                            B Class 1 components                               NB     Class 1 components
                            C Class 2 components                               NC     Class 2 components
                            D Class 3 components                               ND     Class 3 components
                             E Small components                                            None
                          G Core support structures                          NG     Core support structures
                                    H Supports                                       NF     Supports
                                J Storage tanks                                    NC / ND 3800 – 3900
                         P Containment penetrations                           NE     Class MC components
                            Z Technical appendices                                     Appendices
                              Section 2 Materials                                  Section II   Materials
                       Section 3 Examination Methods                     Section V Non Destructive Examination
                              Section 4 Welding                              Section IX Welding and Brazing
                             Section 5 Fabrication                             Various parts of Section III

     Table 4

     Summary of RCC-M and
     ASME nuclear accreditations.
     Courtesy of David Hall,
     Nuclear AMRC

     retirement age or already retired from the UK’s earlier   3.2 OPPORTUNITIES TO ALLEVIATE THREATS TO
     nuclear programmes. Some knowledge of methods             MANUFACTURING SUPPLY CHAIN
     of manufacture and drawings of components from            In response to the threats to the manufacturing supply
     the UK’s existing nuclear fleet has already been lost     chain identified above, four opportunities to alleviate
     as a result of retirement of personnel or ineffective     these threats have been identified: engagement with
     storage and retrieval of data, which will diminish the    nuclear OEMs; development of the UK’s capacity
     UK’s ability to take forwards our previous learning       for ultra large forgings; support for Tier 2, 3 and 4
     experiences for the economic and technical benefit        suppliers; and training and skills. These opportunities
     of future nuclear plant. Skills shortages that are        are discussed further below.
     recognised include accredited welding engineers
                                                               3.2.1 Engagement with Nuclear OEMs
     and hands-on skills such as machining, fabrication,
     inspection and testing. The more highly skilled           Engagement of the UK supply chain with the
     engineers are generally over 50 with fewer in the 20-30   OEMs for nuclear (AREVA and Westinghouse) will
     age group, and hence there is a need for up-skilling      help to prepare companies for the challenges and
     of the younger demographic. The supply of forgings        opportunities that the nuclear industry has to offer by
                                                               informing of the procurement procedures and work
     and castings must be underpinned by metallurgical
                                                               packages, facilitating knowledge transfer and helping
     knowledge, and currently there is a burden on OEMs
                                                               to raise the confidence of the nuclear OEMs in the
     and Tier 1 suppliers to educate their supply chain
                                                               UK’s capabilities. The need to increase the level of
     in these areas. This is can be a strenuous burden
                                                               expertise in the UK supply chain is recognised by
     whilst also trying to expand their own capabilities.      EdF Energy and its established suppliers in France,
     The shortage of skills for nuclear will be further        and hence EdF are working with the UK supply
     compounded by competing demands from other                chain with the support of UKTI, OND and the NIA in
     growing industries such as oil and gas and other          preparation for Hinkley Point C to help to develop
     power generation sectors.                                 UK expertise through partnerships with established
                                                               French suppliers [27]. This includes UK nuclear
                                                               suppliers’ forums, such as the one held by EdF in

18   www.materialsktn.net
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