Forgings for the Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) mPower small modular reactor (SMR) are to be fabricated in the USA under a new supply agreement with Lehigh Heavy Forge.
Prototype and standard forgings for the reactor would be manufactured at Lehigh's facility in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania as B&W moves into the component manufacturing phase of its program to develop the 180 MWe reactor. B&W and Lehigh will work together in the fabrication and qualification of the components.
The Bethlehem plant boasts the largest open-die press in North America, with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes capacity, but does not yet have internationally recognised N-stamp nuclear accreditation with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Lehigh intends to use the process of manufacturing the prototype SMR components for B&W to seek ASME accreditation, which will enable it to take part in future heavy component manufacturing for the nuclear industry.
Lehigh president James Romeo said the company had already been making significant capital investments in its facilities in preparation for an anticipated "strong push" for SMR heavy components. The company plans to make further upgrades to its facilities to support mPower manufacturing needs.
The announcement follows the recent selection of the mPower reactor as the winner of funding under a US government program to help accelerate the pace at which SMRs are brought to market.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News