Sunday, March 3, 2024

Boost to British nuclear and steel industries as Sheffield Forgemasters joins the Sizewell C Consortium

Sheffield Forgemasters, a South Yorkshire-based heavy engineering firm specialising in the production of nuclear grade steel castings and forgings, has announced it will join forces with other leading firms with the aim to supply large-scale gigawatt nuclear projects across the UK, starting with Sizewell C.

To underscore this new partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed outlining its intent to supply Sizewell C. The agreement will see Sheffield Forgemasters provide a range of specialised qualification components for the project and indicates potential longer-term opportunities for collaboration on future European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) projects across the UK.

Through this new strategic partnership, Sheffield Forgemasters will join the Sizewell C Consortium, an organisation representing more than 200 businesses across the nuclear and construction supply chain, which is preparing to mobilise onto Sizewell C as the construction of Hinkley Point C draws to a close.

This builds on three previous MoUs signed by the Sizewell C Consortium with Wales, the North of England and East of England, which will inject over £7.2 billion into the supply chain and create 70,000 job opportunities throughout the construction of Sizewell C.

David Bond, CEO of Sheffield Forgemasters, commented: “Joining the Sizewell C Consortium marks a positive step forward for our business and unites two strategically significant industries at the forefront of driving clean energy growth opportunities for Britain.

We will be manufacturing qualification components in order to join the supply chain for Sizewell C, with the eventual aim, to supply components into the build. If we can secure supply into the UK’s nuclear fleet, we can continue to invest in our workforce, provide local high-skilled job opportunities, and re-shore nuclear manufacturing for the UK fleet.”

This latest announcement will come as further good news for the British steel industry, which has been under pressure in recent years due to international competition and high domestic costs. It will similarly benefit the nuclear industry through deepening expertise across clean technology, which the UK in turn can begin to export globally.

Nuclear represents one important aspect of the UK’s clean growth and energy security ambitions. With the backing of the British steel industry, there is further potential to support the development of technologies like hydrogen and Direct Air Capture, which will require collaboration across the supply chain to deliver.

Cameron Gilmour, Spokesperson for the Sizewell C Consortium, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Sheffield Forgemasters into the Sizewell C Consortium. With a long history of supporting British infrastructure builds, their knowledge and expertise will be valuable in driving forward our ability to deliver new large-scale nuclear, with Sizewell C as the next project in line.

As with other large-scale infrastructure projects, expertise gained throughout the supply chain can, through replication, drive down overall construction costs and help to accelerate the speed of delivery. Especially important for the UK as it sets about reviving its nuclear fleet.

Sheffield Forgemasters is at the forefront of pioneering new methods of manufacture for civil nuclear projects. If the company qualifies to supply Sizewell C, and the UK’s future nuclear fleet, this has the potential to unlock new inward investment to help drive forward greener steel production.

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