Pump and motor manufacturer Hayward Tyler is collaborating with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to develop a new reactor coolant pump (RCP) for small modular reactors (SMRs) and help the UK supply chain prepare to produce critical components for the global SMR market.
SMRs are advanced power plants that can be largely built-in factories as modules to minimise costly on-site construction, and which allow manufacturers to reduce costs by producing many identical units. More than 70 designs of small modular reactor are in development in 18 countries around the world, mostly based on Gen III+ reactor technologies which are relatively close to commercial readiness.
“Although there are different types of SMRs being developed by major players, water-cooled reactors remain very attractive and bring a new dimension to the more reliable, clean and affordable nuclear power,” said Dr Evgeny Polyakov, Sales Director at Hayward Tyler.
The project is funded by the Driving the Electric Revolution programme of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, delivered by Innovate UK, and will span nine months in the initial phase. During this time, key milestones will include concept design, verification and validation, along with an extensive supply chain engagement program. Further projects will be completed on various areas of the design including detailed CFD analysis, prototype manufacture, quality control and lifecycle testing.
“Reactor coolant pumps are safety critical which require a specific coast-down flow rate to ensure the necessary rate of heat removal is maintained during a power-outage to the pumps,” said Robert Bowen, Lead Design Engineer for the RCP project at Hayward Tyler. “To remove the complexities of dynamic sealing, the design uses an internal, high-inertia flywheel to achieve the coast-down flow. Reducing the large frictional losses by the large flywheel is a significant technical challenge which has required a combined input from the electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical expertise within our design team.” Pumps for the reactor coolant system will primarily be made from low and zero-cobalt metal alloys which have minimal risk of suffering radiation-induced corrosion. Very few UK manufacturers have experience working with these alloys, so the project will draw on the Nuclear AMRC’s detailed knowledge of the UK supply chain to identify potential suppliers and help them prepare for new opportunities in the SMR market.