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.