British steelmaking firm Sheffield Forgemasters and US-based nuclear technology developer NuScale Power are to collaborate on the manufacture of components for small modular reactors (SMRs) aimed at the UK market, the companies announced this week.

Sheffield Forgemasters said it aims to forge a large civil reactor vessel head by the end of 2017, with funding from NuScale Power to support the use of its SMR design.  The project will also be supported by Innovate UK, the nation’s innovation funding agency.

Last year the Chancellor, George Osborne, said the UK would embark on a £250m ($329m), five-year R&D project into SMR technology, with the goal of building a commercial plant during the 2020s – an update on previous estimates which had planned for the 2030s.

A spokesman for NuScale Power was quoted as saying that Sheffield Forgemasters will build the reactor vessel head no matter which firm(s) end up building the plant.

Tom Mundy, NuScale Power’s managing director for the UK and Europe said he hopes the collaboration will be “the starting point of a lasting relationship that will ultimately see UK-manufactured SMRs generating clean reliable power for the UK grid by the 2020s.”