How important is stainless steel in the nuclear industry?

The nuclear is highly specialised and involves complicated processes that demand specifically designed power plants, equipment, and materials in order to complete them safely and effectively. Conditions in nuclear power plants are very dangerous and hostile, so not just any metal can be used. That’s where stainless steel comes in as it has several properties that make it the perfect fit for the strict requirements of nuclear fabrication. In this guide we’ll be exploring how stainless steel is used in nuclear power plants and its overall importance to the industry. 

How is stainless steel fabrication used in the nuclear industry? 

Specially crafted stainless steel parts can be found throughout standard nuclear power plants whether it is big or small. Nuclear reactors will generally contain the components below – which are almost always made from stainless steel or a type of stainless steel. 

  • Containment vessels – these are one of the biggest stainless steel parts in a nuclear plant. They have the extremely important job of protecting the reactor from outside factors and workers from radiation effects. 
  • Rods – they control nuclear reactions and are located within the reactor core. Their purpose is to absorb neutrons using either boron, cadmium, or hafnium. 
  • Steam generators – the majority of reactors will have multiple steam generators. Turbines are powered by steam created from a pressurised coolant when the reactor generates heat. 
  • Moderators – the moderator can be graphite or water and is situated in the reactor core to slow fission-produced neutrons. 
  • Pressure tubes – they contain fuel or coolants and are generally made from stainless steel. 
  • Fuel or coolants – uranium oxide balls are kept in tubes (see above) to fuel the plant. At the same time cool circulates around the core to stop it from overheating. 

Both austenitic and ferritic stainless steels are present in the nuclear industry, but it is austenitic that is the favoured choice for engineers. This is because it’s often considered to be the most effective in highly corrosive and hot environments. So, you will typically see it in pipes and other process-related vessels. Not only that but it is easily available, simple to fabricate and weld, very impact resistant at a range of temperatures from hot to cold to name just a few of its impressive benefits. 

The importance of stainless steel in the nuclear industry 

From what we have explored above, we can see that stainless steel has a strong presence throughout nuclear sites. The importance of nuclear steel fabrication isn’t just a relevant factor now but also will continue to be in the future. Many experts believe that there will be a growing demand for nuclear energy in the future as a result of the increasing use of clean energy resources and the efforts being made to reduce the impacts of climate change. 

As the industry develops further so too will the need for more high temperature reactors and equipment that is able to withstand increasingly hostile and hazardous environments. This means there is a clear opportunity for stainless steel manufacturing and fabrication to grow with the industry and rise to the challenge of making nuclear energy more sustainable and safer. Taking all this into account, it’s clear to see just how vital stainless steel is to the nuclear sector and it will carry on being that way for many years to come.


Looking for high quality, professional nuclear steel fabrication? FEM can help. Our team of experienced and skilled engineers understand the rigorous requirements of the nuclear industry and the precise work needed to ensure the complete safety and effectiveness of the products created. Contact us today to discuss your project needs and find out how our services can help you.  


Benefits of fabrication in the oil and gas industry

The oil and gas sector is highly dependent on fabrication for its operations. Fabricated steel is often the material of choice to create the necessary equipment and structures to explore, extract, and refine the resources. Read on to learn the key benefits of fabrication in this industry as well as some specific examples of applications that cannot be produced without the work of high-quality welding and fabrication. 

Fabrication benefits in the oil and gas industry

Quicker construction process 

Fabrication processes are completed in a controlled environment, which means external variables that can slow down construction when it is done outside on-site, like the weather, are not a factor. Also, manufacturing parts in a separate location means certain jobs can be carried out at the same time. This significantly shortens the timeline of a project and offers more flexibility for fabricators to perfect the requirements with exact precision and detailed accuracy. 

High quality workmanship and results

When you use experienced industry experts for your fabrication you can be assured that all our work adheres to quality assurance standards. All processes are carried out under ideal working conditions and equipment is effectively tested and evaluated before being installed. So, if you needed threaded steel pipe for example, we would make sure that the finished product is tested to ensure quality and longevity in its real-world application. 

Testing ensures that any defects are found and fixed before the product is installed and causes any downtime or safety problems. The oil and gas industry is a complex one with strict health and safety guidelines, so the last thing a business working in this sector needs is faulty equipment from poor fabrication. 

Cost effective 

Fabrication is cost effective for the oil and gas industry because it ensures an efficient workflow. Engineers who understand the industry in detail will know the type of work that needs to be carried out for things like pipeline fabrication and storage tank fabrication for instance, which businesses in that line of work often require. This helps to make the process smoother with no labour hours or materials cost being wasted unnecessarily – it is fully streamlined. 

How is fabrication used in the oil and gas industry?


Whilst the foundations and requirements might be quite similar for oil and gas infrastructure, it can vary for different operations. This is based on how complex a project is, ranging from single on-land oil rigs to large offshore platforms that need processing facilities and employee housing. So, the demands for fabrication can change depending on the scale of what the business needs. The below examples are oil platforms that are made using custom fabrication materials like steel floors, legs, girders, hollow sections and more. 

  • Drill ships 
  • Gravity-based structures 
  • Jack-up drilling rigs 
  • Spar platforms 
  • Compliant towers 
  • Tension-leg platforms 
  • Fixed platforms 
  • Floating production systems 
  • Semi-submersible platforms 



Like with infrastructure, there is always a need for perfectly fabricated parts to be used in oil and gas equipment. There are a number of different processes within the industry with extracting and drilling, and refining and storing being just a few examples. These processes all need specialised machinery and components to work properly and reliably, which makes accurate fabrication essential. You can find instances of metal fabrication in equipment like: 

  • Pressure vessels 
  • Conveyors 
  • Storage tanks 
  • Air coolers 
  • Pipes, valves, and fittings 
  • Heat exchangers 
  • Evaporators 
  • Oil and gas separators 


If your business is in the oil and gas industry and you need help with fabrication projects that meet specific and detailed requirements, FEM can help. Our team of experienced engineers have extensive knowledge and skills in creating bespoke metal parts for clients in this industry and have a clear understanding of the type of work involved. Contact us today to discuss your needs or if you have any questions about how our services can help you. 

Jib crane: What is it and how does it work?

A jib crane is a device designed mainly for use in production operations as it features an arm/boom that extends out and away from the body (known as the mast or pillar) of the crane to lift heavy loads to heights that are unmanageable for workers. It is ideal for factories, warehouses, or other facilities where you are required to move heavy items around the space quickly and efficiently without risk of injury to the workers. Jib cranes can lift loads ranging from 250 pounds all the way up to 15 tonnes in some applications. Read on to learn more about jib these highly useful cranes.