Enabling revolutionary progress
Enabling revolutionary progress
Graham Dick, Principal Consultant, TÜV SÜD
The need for a low carbon future is currently driving an expansion in the nuclear sector across the world.
The nuclear sector is expanding, and with so many new nuclear power plants planned across the world the market for associated equipment is growing. If you’re aiming to develop your business, this article explains why now is a good time to move into the nuclear sector and identifies the types of products that are in demand and routes to nuclear equipment qualification (EQ). Most equipment qualification is less demanding, in functional terms, than you may think.
Currently, there are around 443 stations across 30 countries generating nuclear power. However, the consensus across major international studies is that low-carbon sources like nuclear need to be deployed at a large scale to meet net zero carbon. A median projection is that output by 2050 may need to double if we are to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees.
In the UK, there are currently plans for 3 new major units and 1 new small modular reactor (SMR).
If your products are produced to ISO standards of quality and traceability, then you could be well on the way to meeting the requirements of the nuclear sector. Like most safety critical industries, the requirements of specific component types are graded and classified, and the lower classifications are largely comparable to other industrial sectors.
The requirements of higher safety classifications may be more challenging to meet but TÜV SÜD are experienced in advising suppliers how to meet them. At TÜV SÜD we operate in many different sectors beyond nuclear and as such have successfully supported customers transition to the nuclear sector from the oil and gas, automotive and telecoms industries often without the need for empirical tests. This graphic generalises the composition of a given station's equipment volume against safety class and associated EQ complexity.
If your business has products that are pre-qualified for the nuclear sector, they can prove highly attractive to station designers, builders, and owners. A pre-qualified product can be deployed quickly and with limited risk meaning you can be ahead of competitors who, at signature of contract, would still have to go through an EQ process.
In short, the nuclear sector needs more suppliers as the existing supplier base for certain established technology is limited. Additionally innovative new technology will be needed to help create new designs of power station.
At TÜV SÜD we’ve seen how sector migration benefits industry providing more than just a greater choice of suppliers. We know the supply chain needs to expand and history shows that one sector’s requirements may already exist in another sector.
For example, in the 1960s, technology in the highly-regulated aerospace sector provided a state-of-the-art solution to the automotive industry in the form of anti-lock braking. When technology moves sectors, it often benefits both sectors and with increased commonality comes larger markets to offset development costs.
In our experience the following sectors have a comparable focus on reliability, safety, and integrity, so could readily offer equipment suitable for nuclear applications:
Recent examples of commercial products TÜV SÜD have transitioned to the nuclear sector:
If you’re designing a new product, it makes sense to consider nuclear qualification from the outset as it simply gives you more options for potential markets and customers. Why not qualify a suitable product to the most challenging nuclear requirements from the start? This will provide you with the knowledge and confidence that your products have met the demands of the nuclear industry, and therefore could easily be transferrable to less demanding sectors.
It’s possible that you’re already manufacturing equipment that could be used by the nuclear industry. With a valid equipment qualification file, you could easily access a new market and possibly more readily than you might imagine. If you’re looking to grow your business and access new markets, we encourage you to consider qualification of your products in nuclear applications. Due to our experience across multiple sectors, TÜV SÜD is well-placed to guide you through nuclear qualification.
We recommend you take some time to view one of the two TÜV SÜD webinars relevant to the topic of nuclear qualification. In our most recent webinar on EQ Graham Dick and Lars Thilo-Voss from TÜV SÜD team up with EDF HPC supplier, Friotherm, and the UK ONR to share insights into the application of the equipment qualification process from three perspectives.
We would also recommend learning about ISO 19443, a nuclear-specific quality management standard designed to improve safety and quality throughout the nuclear supply chain. This recent TÜV SÜD webinar on the topic will give you an insight into the requirements you’ll need to comply with:
ISO 19443 – The Future Quality Management Standard for Nuclear Supply Chain
We feel the sector will benefit from a greater range of new suppliers. Could you be one of them?
Contact us to discuss how we can help you with Nuclear Equipment Qualification.
Graham Dick // Principal Consultant, TÜV SÜD
Graham is a chartered mechanical engineer who has extensive experience of industry sectors where the highest degree of focus is placed on the safety and integrity of functional systems. Working for TÜV SÜD as principal consultant, he combines expertise gained from the Aerospace, Offshore Energy and Nuclear sectors. In his previous position he held responsibility for delivering Nuclear Equipment Qualification programmes within the EDF HPC project. A position that required a detailed understanding of the safety classifications placed on active equipment, along with the ability to select the most appropriate path to qualification. He has extensive experience of working with experienced suppliers and those new to the sector, to ensure that safety case requirements are fulfilled and evidenced in a manner that satisfies both site licence holder and regulator.