Keighley Labs Pursues Opportunities In Nuclear Supply ChainKeighley Laboratories microscope room

With the Energy Secretary now backing a new generation of nuclear power stations, the UK is preparing for its largest ever investment in nuclear new-build, as a means of meeting Europe’s target of producing 30% of its electricity from this source by 2020. Energy companies are planning to build up to 16GW of new nuclear power capacity and bodies like the Nuclear Industry Association are inviting UK engineering companies, from Tier 1 technology suppliers to specialist SMEs, to become part of the nuclear supply chain.

Mindful of the possible commercial opportunities this presents for its specialist heat treatment, non-destructive testing and metallurgical services, Keighley Laboratories is gearing up its resources for the nuclear challenge ahead and setting out its technical stall to Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4 companies, as an expert partner to help us meet exacting quality and metallurgical standards. We already has customers across the nuclear supply chain, such as energy and engineering companies, and our work meets the exacting standards of insurance and inspectorate bodies, industry primes and the defence sector.

In line with NIA requirements that there should be adherence to appropriate quality standards throughout the supply chain, Keighley Labs complies with BS EN 9100 and ISO9001 for the heat treatment of metals and the aerospace standard AS9100; we are also accredited to UKAS Metallurgical Laboratory ISO/IEC 17025 standard and carry out NDT inspections to relevant BS EN 571, BS EN ISO 9934-1, BS EN 10160 and BS EN 1714 specifications. Individual experts within our company are NDT qualified to PCN Level 2 and Level 3, CAA Chapter A8-10 weld specimen supervisors and members of both the Institute of Cast Metals Engineers and the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

“We are aware that Keighley Laboratories will be a relatively small cog in the nuclear supply chain, but feel that our metallurgical services have a role to play in an industry sector where the integrity and durability of metal components, machining techniques and welded joints is paramount. Our independent status and one-stop-shop facilities, combined with fast turnaround times, are also relevant to companies looking to ensure compliance with exacting standards governing the supply of nuclear components,” says Commercial Manager, Leonard Stott.

“We already work with some of the Tier 1 primes and have considerable experience of meeting the standards of nuclear and renewable energy companies,” he continues. “Later this year, we shall also start construction of new buildings and facilities, with a view to positioning ourselves at the cutting edge of sub-contract heat treatment and metallurgical solutions.”

Backed by more than 90 years’ industry practice and with a wealth of practical experience in technical solutions, Keighley Labs is well placed to service a nuclear sector, where according to The Welding Institute ‘the significance of welding, inspection and structural integrity is undeniable’. We offer a range of heat treatment processes to optimise the durability and performance of materials and components used in nuclear power plant, including post-welding and pre-machining treatments, facilities for handling parts up to 2 tonnes and such processes as carburising, Tufftriding, induction hardening and other thermal treatments.

Our metallurgical services include non-destructive testing for in-house and on-site projects, a full range of mechanical and fatigue testing techniques, positive material identification, weld testing, investigation and approvals, and forensic problem and failure investigation. Among the facilities of particular interest to the nuclear sector are charpy impact tests for materials used in pressure vessels, magnetic permeability metering for critical nuclear applications, the analysis of ferrite content in austenitic and duplex steel, and full metallographic capabilities, which include stereo binocular microscopes with digital image capture and semi-automated sample preparation. In addition, experts agree that NDT will play an essential role in assessing the structural integrity of nuclear components and Keighley Labs offers a full array of penetrant testing, magnetic particle inspection and ultrasonic flaw detection techniques.

On the laboratory side, our team of analytical chemists has over 150 years’ combined experience and employ state-of-the-art spectroscopy equipment, classic ‘wet’ chemistry methods and qualitative depth profile analysis to check that submitted metals, metal alloys and related products meet required specifications. Keighley Labs’ spectroscopic equipment includes glow discharge, inductively coupled plasma and flame atomic absorption technology, enabling analysis down to parts per million detection limits.

We have registered our capabilities with lead research body Nuclear AMRC and we are a member of the Advanced Manufacturing Forum technology network, underlining our active interest in pursuing opportunities in the UK civil nuclear manufacturing supply chain.