The contract value is in excess of $1 million. The system is to be delivered towards the end of the year. The Lancaster, New York-based company’s highly engineered and custom designed furnace systems for the nuclear industry are in operation on four continents.

A Harper spokesman said the company also “manufactures continuous thermal processing systems for use in the advanced materials industry for the production of micron-sized metal powder, oxides, carbides and nitrides as well as high-performance ceramics.” The systems, he added, are built to customer requirements from the ground up. “Our materials scientists are involved from the word go.”

Sintering is the crucial final step in the refinement of nuclear fuels before they can be used in nuclear power plants. In establishing an international customer base, Harper systems have exceeded stringent durability and reliability tests and meet critical requirements such as a completely sealed system with a hydrogen gas atmosphere and controlled dew point in the 1700°C to 1800°C temperature range, as well as temperature uniformity. Safety systems have to be first class.