A Bethlehem manufacturer will supply a North Carolina clean energy company with nuclear reactor components. Gov. Tom Corbett looked on as Lehigh Heavy Forge Corp. inked the agreement to provide B&W mPower with small modular reactor forgings.
Under the agreement Lehigh Heavy Forge and B&W will jointly work in the fabrication and forging of nuclear reactor components for use in the manufacture of B&W mPower small modular reactors.
Prototype and standard forgings would be manufactured at Lehigh Heavy Forge's Bethlehem facility as B&W, of Charlotte, N.C., moves into the component manufacturing phase of its program.
Gov. Corbett lauded the news as good for job creation.
"For some time now I have used a simple equation to help explain moments like this. Energy equals jobs,” he said. “These small modular reactors promise to take us farther down the road to energy independence while creating new jobs and sustaining old ones right here in Pennsylvania."
The B&W-Lehigh team will be working to revitalize the United States manufacturing infrastructure needed to supply heavy forgings for the commercial nuclear power industry following a national capability gap of more than three decades.
Lehigh Heavy Forge will use the process of manufacturing prototype B&W mPower forgings to seek a Material Organization Quality System accreditation with ASME for future heavy component manufacturing. Lehigh Heavy Forge also has plans to make additional facility upgrades to support future B&W mPower reactor manufacturing needs.
"We have been making significant capital investments in our facilities as we get ready for what we believe will be a strong push for small modular reactor heavy components," said James J. Romeo, president of Lehigh Heavy Forge.
"We look forward to using our unique capabilities and demonstrated experience to be a significant contributor to the B&W mPower reactor's successful deployment."
B&W recently was selected as the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy's Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support Program.