Westinghouse Electric Plunges Into Small Modular Reactor Market

May 5, 2023 by Dan McCue
Westinghouse Electric Plunges Into Small Modular Reactor Market
Small nuclear power plant (Westinghouse Electric photo)

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — Westinghouse Electric Company launched its newest nuclear technology on Thursday, a small modular nuclear reactor packed with enough safety and other features to easily reach its 80-plus-year operating life cycle.

Westinghouse’s new AP300™ small modular reactor is scaled from the company’s proven AP1000® reactor and, it says, is the only small modular reactor on the market that’s “truly based” on an Nth-of-a-kind operating plant.  

“Nth-of-a-kind” is an engineering term generally meaning any iteration of a product past its initial, first general version.

Westinghouse is currently operating or in the process of building at least a dozen of its AP1000 facilities across the globe.

The company says that gives it the advantage of construction “lessons learned,” mature, reliable supply chains and of having a product that is already familiar to regulators in multiple countries.

“The AP300 is the only small modular reactor offering available that is based on deployed, operating and advanced reactor technology,” said Westinghouse president and CEO, Patrick Fragman, in a written statement. 

“The launch of the AP300 SMR rounds out the Westinghouse portfolio of reactor technology, allowing us to deliver on the full needs of our customers globally, with a clear line of sight on schedule of delivery and economics,” he added.

The company hopes to secure design certification from U.S. regulators by 2027, with construction launching in 2030 and power production in 2033.

The modular reactor’s advanced passive safety system automatically achieves safe shutdown without operator action and eliminates the need for backup power and cooling supply — a design breakthrough that directly translates into a simplified design and smaller footprint. 

According to Westinghouse, the AP300 small nuclear reactor also lends itself to additional applications, such as direct heating and water desalination.

“Its fast load-follow capabilities make it ideally suited for integration with renewable resources. It will also pave the way toward the hydrogen economy by enabling cost-effective, clean production of hydrogen integrated with the plant,” the company said in a press release.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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