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Westinghouse proposes joint small modular reactor (SMR) development with UK

Westinghouse Electric Company has presented the United Kingdom government a proposal to partner in the deployment of small modular reactor (SMR) technology, a move that would advance the UK from being a buyer to a global provider of the latest nuclear energy technology. The proposal is intended to complement the current Phase 2 SMR study that the UK government has recently commenced.

The unsolicited proposal outlines a “shared design and development model” under which Westinghouse would contribute its small modular reactor conceptual design and then partner with UK government and industry to complete, license and deploy the design. The collaboration would create a new option for safe, clean-air energy that leverages the innovative technology of Westinghouse’s AP1000 nuclear power plant.

The UK has a long and distinguished record in nuclear energy that dates back to construction of the Calder Hall plant almost 60 years ago. We are proposing a strategy that would put the UK at the forefront of SMR development, advancing its standing in nuclear energy innovation and creating significant economic opportunities through leadership in the global market. Our proposal is designed to fully engage UK industry and spur new manufacturing activity that would create numerous good jobs in the UK.

—Jeff Benjamin, senior vice president, Westinghouse New Plants and Major Projects

Westinghouse’s SMR design is a 225 MWe integral pressurized water reactor with all primary components located inside the reactor vessel. In addition to its design, Westinghouse would bring to the partnership the volumes of testing and analysis upon which its SMR is based.

As proposed, the partnership would be structured as a UK-based enterprise jointly owned by Westinghouse, the UK government and UK industry. By actively involving UK industry in the design and deployment of small modular reactors, this approach would support the UK government’s program goals for leadership in SMR development. Westinghouse is in dialogue with a number of UK flagship companies who have offered support for the concept.

The UK is a major base of operations for Westinghouse, which has a long-standing strategic relationship with the country and long and continuing history in its nuclear program.

The Westinghouse Springfields site has been the production facility for manufacturing nuclear fuel for nearly 70 years, including supplying Advanced Gas-cooled Reactor fuel, which powers approximately 15% of the UK. Westinghouse today employs more than 1,100 people in the region at the Springfields site, and at offices in Preston and West Cumbria. The Westinghouse-designed Sizewell B plant was built in 1988 and is currently the only pressurized water reactor and last nuclear reactor built to date in the UK.

In addition, three Westinghouse AP1000 units are planned for the Moorside site in West Cumbria. When fully operational, the units will deliver about 7% of the UK’s future electricity needs. They will be the newest additions to the AP1000 global fleet, joining the eight units that are already under construction in the US and China. Westinghouse also supports key decommissioning projects for the Sellafield site.

Westinghouse Electric Company, a group company of Toshiba Corporation, is the world's pioneering nuclear energy company and is a leading supplier of nuclear plant products and technologies to utilities throughout the world. Westinghouse supplied the world's first commercial pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa. Today, Westinghouse technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the world’s operating nuclear plants, including more than 50 percent of those in Europe.



I hope that this goes forward and is also developed for the US market.


The latest (China-France) NPP to be built in England will probably be the most costly ever at about $25B and the energy produced will cost more than Solar and/or Wind REs.

Would multiple smaller NPPs produce energy at a lower cost than the latest very costly large units and be able to compete against future Solar and Wind REs?

Ontario, with its 18 old CANDU, has a real near term challenge, to continue to supply affordable electricity to Ontarians and local industries. Replacement NPPs may cost as much if not more than $0.22/kWh versus under $0.12/kWh for Wind an Solar with storage or about $0.06/kWh to import clean Hydro from Quebec.

Nick Lyons

@Harvey: The planned English NPP you refer to has got to be the most expensive, over-complicated solution ever contemplated. I'm sure there are political reasons they went that way, but there are better, cheaper designs available (e.g. AP-1000). Safe, modern, cost-effective nuclear power plants are being built in many parts of the world; at Hinkley Point they get 2 out of 3, I guess.


NL...the same story is repeated in Finland, France, China, USA and many other places.

NPPs are no longer cost effective.

Thank G.. we have enough clean low cost Hydro + Wind for the next 100+ years.


Harvey is full of it.  China is on track to building NPPs on 5-year schedules for about $2000/kW.  The problems in the West are due to lawfare against the industry, plus paranoid hyper-regulation leading to designs that some experts opine cannot be built (EPR).  Seriously, a DOUBLE containment?  Why wouldn't you just beef up the single containment to contain anything that wouldn't be able to breach the outer one?

China, S. Korea, Russia and India will push forward no matter what the Greens do in Europe.  All this will do is cause Europe to fade into irrelevance.  Whether Canada and the USA remain significant depends on how soon they throw off Green dogma.


Chinese overnight capital cost is $3500 per kilowatt. PDF link here - page 26 . You can't just quote years old announced "construction costs" (usually announced a couple of years before the plant is even started on). "Construction costs" are NOT "overnight capital costs". Even overnight capital costs don't include owner and financing costs.

As for your shrill double containment comment - even China's Hualong One has double containment.

I think it's clear to any reader here who's full of it.


Meanwhile, China is aiming for 150 GW of nuclear power by 2030, most of the projects not started yet.  Harvey calls this "no longer cost effective", comparing against the resources of Quebec which are available in very small supply (population of Quebec:  8.2 million) and the limitations of which will become very obvious when sales to e.g. Ontario and Vermont have to be cut due to lack of capacity.  Simply put, Harvey won't even do the math for his own province.

Quebec's grid is close to 100% hydro.  China's electric supply is just 16.6% hydro and falling due to skyrocketing demand; there are no more Three Gorges projects possible.  For China, a clean reliable electricity supply means nuclear or nothing and they know it.


The real total cost of NPPs is and has been 2X to 3X the original estimated cost for decades. When adequate insurance and used fuel acceptable management is added, the total cost can go as high as 3X to 4X the original cost estimates.

Factory mass produced smaller units may be a lower cost solution if built by the thousands and easily transportable to final (underground) destinations. Excess heat could be used to keep road-streets and sidewalks warm during cold snowy days?


Less than 50% of the Hydro potential and less than 5% of the Wind potential in Quebec and Labrador are current exploited.

Those two energy sources could supply all the clean affordable electricity required for 25 to 50 million people including their BEVs and FCEVs.

The wind potential on the Hudson Bay, Ungava and Labrador shores are steady and of high quality. A few thousand 10 mega-watt direct drive turbines, mounted on 500-ft towers, could complement new and existing Hydro production facilities.

Secondly, those projects could supply work and welcomed revenues for local aboriginal people.

Part of the $125B, in future infrastructure, promised by the new Liberal Government, could be used to get the projects started.

The real total cost of NPPs is and has been 2X to 3X the original estimated cost for decades.

In the USA, because of lawfare and NRC obstruction.  S. Korea has done much better, and China has the 6 GW Yangjiang complex coming in at $11.5 billion, less than $2000/kW.  That is what the USA used to do, before the NRC.

When adequate insurance and used fuel acceptable management is added

To the enemies of the technology, the only "adequate and acceptable" level is what keeps it non-competitive against fossil fuels.  No one has ever been harmed, but let's jack up the cost protection anyway!

Less than 50% of the Hydro potential and less than 5% of the Wind potential in Quebec and Labrador are current exploited.

How many migratory fish runs are you ready to drive extinct, Harvey?  How many species of bats?  How many other wildlife species that can't handle their habitat being cut up with access roads?

Those two energy sources could supply all the clean affordable electricity required for 25 to 50 million people including their BEVs and FCEVs.

Wrong, Harvey.  HQ's total 2014 sales were about 200 TWh (page 2).  In 2014, Hydro One transmitted roughly 140 TWh.  If you look at Ontario's 2010 power stats (the only year I can get to display), roughly 55% of Ontario's total power generation was from nuclear.  Note, this was before the Bruce Point refurbishments were completed.  Even the 2010 Ontario nuclear generation, if supplied by HQ instead, would have required 40% more HQ generation and roughly 44% more hydro generation.  Immediately south you've got the US state of New York, with some 18 million population and no hydro capacity to speak of.  Once you get beyond Quebec and the thinly-populated Atlantics, you run out very quickly.

There is no way to supply the world with "renewables" the way you think, Harvey.  It is impossible.


Fast neutron can use the U.K. plutonium for fuel, no long term waste.


Yangjiang was announced at that price in 2008.

With 20% of Chinese inflation since then.

And at least 4 of the 6 are Gen II+ reactors, not Gen III+. Of the last two there is no word whether they will be Gen II+ or Gen III. Considering the Hualong One was finalized after construction started, most likely Gen II+.

And those are construction costs which are quite a bit less than overnight capital, or even total project price.

So the IEA-NEA numbers are closer to correct, not James Conca's cribbing of a number off of Wikipedia that is 7 years old.

If anybody is interested in the overnight capital or total costs of power plants (vs. a simple 7 year old "construction cost" claim) see the PDF link below at page 35.

The example has a construction cost of $2,479 per kilowatt and $3,925 overnight capital cost in 2008, and $6579 after 7 years of construction (finishing 2015) counting financing and 2.5% inflation.

Engineer-Poet's $2,000 per kilowatt number is just a "construction cost" which isn't remotely the whole story.


There's a lot of difference between $2,000/KW and $6,579/KW. With normal financing probably going up soon, the real total cost could reach $8,000 to $10,000/KW by the end of the current decade or early in the next one, (excluding proper insurance and proper spent fuel disposal cost).

Combined Hydro + Wind is a much cleaner, safer, lower cost approach. Hydro is not sufficient in many places but less than 50% of the world's Hydro facilities and less than 5% of the Wind energy facilities are currently developed.

Hydro's potential can be doubled (and more) in many places with slow turning, up-to-date, 10 mega watt direct drive (on-shore) turbines, installed on 500-ft towers.

Making full use of the above in our region, will produce more than enough energy for our population for 100+ years together with some timely export of excess energy.

PS: Slower turning wind turbine blades kill very few birds and bats. Ground inhabitants and crops carry on untouched.


Neither HarveyD nor NewtonPulsifer have any explanation for China's not just continuing effort, but massive expansion of nuclear construction over the next 15 years.  If the plants are not economic to build, China would not be building them.


Almost everything produced in China cost 2X to 3X less due to very hard working lower cost labor.

The same lower cost applies to bridges, very high speed e-train lines, buses, trains, farm tractors, NPPs and ten thousand more items.


China's feed in tariff for nuclear is 84% higher than coal.

These plants are being built by companies with a junk bond rating from Moody's - which doesn't matter because of the implicit central government guarantee of state owned enterprises.

Free money and a tidy subsidy will do that. Wind and solar are on track to drop all feed in tariff support by 2020, which will kill nuclear in China 5 years later.

China's feed in tariff for nuclear is 84% higher than coal.

The relevant comparison isn't the FIT for coal, it's the FIT for other non-emitting generation.  To be a real comparison it would need to compare to the FIT for non-emitting base load generation that is truly capable of dealing with the air quality messes of Shanghai and Beijing, but the only competition there is hydro.

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