Cambridge Vacuum Engineering

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Nuclear SMR welding breakthrough: A year's work now takes a day

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: David Szondy

🔖 Topics: Electron Beam Welding

🏢 Organizations: Sheffield Forgemasters, Cambridge Vacuum Engineering

Small Modular Reactor (SMR) construction shifts into high gear, as UK company Sheffield Forgemasters welds a full-size nuclear reactor vessel in under 24 hours instead of the usual 12 months. The rollout of this game-changing tech could be massive.

The problem is that there are bottlenecks in how to build reactors of any size. One is welding the vessels used to contain the reactor core, isolating it from the outer environment. Using conventional techniques, this can take over a year, but Sheffield Forgemasters have reduced this to under a day using what is called Local Electron-Beam Welding (LEBW) to complete four thick, nuclear-grade welds.

LEBW is a revolutionary method to weld two pieces of metal together using a high-energy density fusion process centered on a high-powered electron gun operating in a local vacuum. This melts and fuses components to one another and allows for an efficiency of 95%, deep penetration, and a high depth-to-width ratio.

Read more at New Atlas

Ebflow: Local Vacuum Electron Beam Welding System