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Nuclear Power Services - Plant Engineering Solutions

The global need for a reduction in carbon dioxide requires a radical shift in the electricity generation mix. The 'business as usual' option is not sustainable on the grounds of energy security, affordability and environmental impacts in the light of global warming. Nuclear energy is currently the only option that can globally deliver low-carbon base load electricity at competitive prices. Projections range a nuclear share of between 24% and 38% of global electricity production by 2050. Currently around 65 countries are implementing or planning new nuclear power programmes.

New Builds and Life Extension

TWI has extensive experience and expertise in new build power stations, particularly in regard to welding and joining processes and the use of correct codes and standards for new reactor designs. This experience extends to all of the main reactor designs including, for example, boiling water reactors, pressurised water reactors (PWR), advanced gas cooled reactors (AGR), CANDU and light water reactors.

Of course, new build power stations are just part of the equation, as current nuclear nations are also seeking to extend the lives of their existing nuclear power stations. Operators of nuclear power plants that have an original design life of 30-40 years are undertaking extensive structural integrity assessments and refurbishment in order to ensure the long-term safety of the plants. TWI has provided support for the maintenance and operation of reactors such as the AP1000 and the EPR1000, offering international experience ranging from the United States to Europe and further afield.

Find out how TWI has been involved in Hinkley Point C in Somerset.

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Nuclear Waste Management and Decommissioning

For nations with a history of nuclear reactor operations, waste management and decommissioning are now high-profile activities with a requirement for the safe and efficient methods of packaging, storing and eventual disposal of the various waste streams from the nuclear industry. TWI has been called upon to assist in a variety of decommissioning projects, looking at novel techniques for cutting up reactor components, such as the use of lasers, ahead of waste disposal. In order to ensure the safety of future generations, the care and maintenance phase of a nuclear asset decommissioning programme requires specialist knowledge in asset integrity management. TWI has years of experience in the management of ageing assets across the power generation sector.

Aside from decommissioning, there is also an environmental need to safely handle waste storage. High level nuclear wastes can remain active for thousands of years, meaning that the integrity of any storage solutions is vital. TWI has worked on a variety of high level projects in this area, including the US Department of Energy's Yucca Mountain project, which required the safe storage of high level waste from a nuclear reactor. This is just one example of TWI's nuclear waste disposal and storage work, which has taken in projects in Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, the UK and France, among others.  Our expertise has been particularly instrumental in the selection of welding processes and the development of applicable procedures with regard to waste storage canisters for deep geological disposal.

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TWI has over 70 Member companies that operate in the global nuclear industry. Such companies cover the complete spectrum of activities from power utilities, fuel cycle companies, research and development organisations, regulators and a large range of engineering contractors from both the civil and defence sectors. To date, over 800 separate nuclear projects have been completed over a period of some 35 years.

Services We Provide

TWi provides a variety of services for the nuclear industry, ranging from asset management to welding engineering and technology development. As an independent organisation, TWI can deliver expert witness and peer review services in support of submissions to regulatory bodies, as well as failure investigation support and safety case reviews.

Our experience with materials and inspection means that we can provide materials and non-destructive testing as well as structural integrity modelling. TWI can also offer asset management and business support, including asset management surveys, plant assessments, risk analysis and supply chain development.

Industry challenges

While nuclear energy offers a great many benefits, there are a few challenges that the industry needs to overcome. These challenges include perception and public acceptance to nuclear power, as well as matters of safety and waste management. There are also issues related to cost, due to the large initial investment and financing requirements for nuclear assets, as well as construction risks associated with new builds. For emerging nuclear countries there is also a need to build capacity and create institutional and regulatory frameworks. In addition, some operators face constraints on human resources and equipment supply and there are also security and proliferation issues to address. 


Benefits of working with TWI

  • Advanced fabrication: Development of techniques to improve the efficiency and reliability of welding processes
  • Repair: Proven record of delivering 'right first time' repair procedures for various facility types 
  • Specialist non-destructive engineering (NDE): Development and validation of inspection procedures to support licence applications
  • Structural integrity: Assessment of ageing plant and lifetime prediction
  • Welding software: Customised software to manage welding during plant construction and refurbishments
  • Training and certification: Welding and inspection courses to meet the demand for qualified personnel during construction phases
  • Waste canister fabrication: Design, fabrication and remote sealing of various storage and disposal container types
  • Lasers for decommissioning: Reliable technique for remote cutting of pipework, vessels and support steelwork
  • Supply chain: Large Membership network combined with extensive experience of working within a range of manufacturing supply chains
  • Reduced cost and improved reliability of fabrication and inspection processes
  • Plant lifetime extension

Nuclear Project Insights


Remote In-Bore Cutting and Welding for Nuclear Fusion Reactors

TWI has worked with RACE, part of UKAEA (the UK Atomic Energy Authority), to help in the development of the remote, in-bore, laser-based cutting and welding maintenance technologies that will be needed for future nuclear fusion reactors.

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Nuclear Decommissioning at Sellafield using LaserSnake

TWI has successfully completed the size reduction of an active dissolver cell from the First Generation Reprocessing Plant at Sellafield using laser cutting - a new development which could transform the approach to dismantling redundant nuclear equipment, leading to significant cost and time savings.

Development and delivery of bespoke training on asset management at nuclear decommissioning sites

Training on Asset Management at Decommissioning Sites

The nuclear decommissioning company Magnox Limited asked TWI to develop a training course on asset management and to deliver it to System Engineers at its various sites.

Advanced welding techniques for sealing nuclear waste canisters for SKB, Sweden

Advanced Techniques used for Sealing Nuclear Waste Canisters

TWI has demonstrated that a TWI designed and built experimental FSW machine can produce high integrity full circumferential lid to canister welds.


TWI Part of Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Consortium

TWI recently entered a UK SMR consortium led by Rolls-Royce, with Assystem, BAM Nuttall, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), Atkins, Wood and the Nuclear AMRC.

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