The world’s first 3D printed nuclear power plant part has been installed in Krško, Slovenia. The part was printed to replace an older one which is not longer being manufactured.
The Daily Caller reports:
Three-dimensional printing can be used to replicate very old or obsolete parts, the designs of which are virtually impossible to obtain. This makes it incredibly useful for nuclear power, since many reactors are very old and have antiquated features.
The part in question is a metallic impeller for a fire protection pump, printed by Siemans. Tim Holt, Siemans CEO, said of the engineering feat, “We continue to push forward our investments and cutting-edge advancements in additive manufacturing and 3D printing…This achievement at the Krško nuclear power plant is another example of how the digital transformation and the data-driven capabilities we have are impacting the energy industry in ways that really matter.”
The power generation company plans to invest in 3-D printing research and development, foreseeing a high demand for the parts in the coming years. Nuclear power plants regularly require parts updates because they are only designed to last between 25 and 40 years, but are often extended to operate for longer periods. Parts therefore need to be replaced as they wear out or become outdated.