On one hand, there are several research projects by the nuclear fraternity as evidenced by the US Dept. Of Energy’s (DOE) additive microfabrication of TRISO fuel embedded in radiation resistant materials, ROSATOMs Additive Manufacturing machine offering the ability to print in copper and iron among others, LLNL’s direct writing AM technique in which molten metal is forced through a nozzle, as well as their software for melt-pool formation monitoring and failure prediction of 3D Printed parts. Metal 3D printing in nuclear industry play a vital role in designing and manufacturing process.
On the other hand, actual components such as pressure vessel cylinders, gamma-ray imaging systems, lower tube sockets, impellers and housings are either installed or in the testing stages. Components related to the manufacturing process itself such as toolings, fixtures & dies are lower-risk applications in the nuclear industry and have less stringent validation and deployment parameters.
It is evident that the nuclear fraternity is committed to adopting and proving metal 3D printing as a go-to manufacturing technology for nuclear applications. Wipro 3D is also eager to step into the metal 3D printing in nuclear industry.
Typically, the native steel alloys available for SLM would be used for a variety of applications in nuclear energy such as the components described above. Wipro 3D is keen to adapt new materials relevant to the nuclear industry such as Niobium, Tantalum, Zirconium by collaborating with a partner in the nuclear industry.