AMRC Castings investment could help cut nuclear waste storage costs by millions15 August 2016
A new investment that significantly increases AMRC Castings' ability to produce large scale castings with a superior surface finish could help to radically reduce the cost to the UK of storing nuclear waste.
The organisation, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), recently installed a bespoke CMS Poseidon 5 axis CNC machine to produce large scale dimensionally accurate replica patterns from polystyrene.
The machine was acquired with backing from the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK, and the Aerospace Technology Institute as part of an initiative to give Britain the capability to produce aerospace castings weighing up to 500 kg in titanium, 300kg in super-alloys and just under 3000kg in steel.
Further equipment has to be installed before that capability is complete, but the new CNC machine is already proving its worth, producing replica patterns which are being used to make prototype frames to fit on the top of high quality, stainless steel, nuclear waste storage vessels.
The project, for Sellafield, the nuclear fuel reprocessing and nuclear decommissioning plant in Cumbria, is being carried out as part of the Civil Nuclear Sharing in Growth Programme, which aims to develop the UK's civil nuclear manufacturing supply chain and help UK companies win work in the nuclear industry at home and abroad.
Currently, the 1.6 metre square frames are fabricated from 30 separate pieces of duplex stainless steel sheet and bar - a costly and complex process, involving welding and detailed inspection of each joint.
The installation of the CMS Poseidon machine has raised the maximum size of a single piece pattern component AMRC Castings can make from 2.6x1.5x0.85 metres to 2.6x4.0x2.0 metres, well above the size of the frames.
By using its Replicast