The market forecast for Small Reactor applications varies dependent upon the intelligence source used. It is nevertheless clear that the forecasted market volume presents a significantly different challenge to anything the nuclear industry has previously encountered. The industry response to this challenge could be evolutionary or revolutionary. Evolution could be considered the traditional, more relaxed approach as manufacturing capacity and validation techniques develop in-line with market growth & demand. However this approach would not deliver the level of manufacturing efficiencies required to support the Small Reactor programs. Industry must therefore take a revolutionary approach and look towards process optimization, with a focus on design for manufacture (DFM) and design for assembly (DFA). With manufacturing & assembly facilities tailored to meet this challenge, there is an opportunity to introduce new manufacturing philosophies such as ‘flowline’ manufacture — a hybrid between production line and batch processing techniques. Flowline manufacture is a product-oriented manufacturing technique which benefits from aspects of production line approach, e.g. standardized tasks, standardized tooling, and standardized processes. This approach offers an opportunity to validate & verify product parameters during the assembly stage, eliminate non-value added activities, and deliver a Small Reactor product to the required volume demand in a controlled, traceable, safe and reliable manner.

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