Westinghouse SMR technology takes a step forward at NRC

Westinghouse Electric has secured Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval for the company’s testing approach for the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.

The NRC approval is a significant step toward design certification and will reduce the time ultimately needed to license the Westinghouse SMR, the company said in a March 17 news release.

The Westinghouse SMR design is based “on the solid foundation” of the AP 1000 reactor program, said Jeff Benjamin, Westinghouse senior vice president, new plants and major projects.

The Westinghouse AP 1000 reactor is being installed at new nuclear power plants in Georgia, South Carolina as well as China. The AP 1000 is also the reactor design that has been chosen by a fledgling Blue Castle Holdings nuclear proposal in Utah.

“This Westinghouse program has involved many years of testing and analysis, which can be successfully applied to advance our SMR program as the market for the technology matures in the future,” Benjamin said.

In a letter dated February 27, 2015, the NRC told Westinghouse that it has granted a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) for the licensing topical report that the company submitted in April 2012 for agency review and approval. Westinghouse believes the NRC action confirms the technical maturity of the Westinghouse SMR concept design, Benjamin said.

In a letter dated February 27, 2015, the NRC told Westinghouse that it has granted a Safety Evaluation Report (SER) for the licensing topical report that the company submitted in April 2012 for agency review and approval. Westinghouse believes the NRC action confirms the technical maturity of the Westinghouse SMR concept design, Benjamin said.

The topical report, developed by a panel of experts inside and outside of Westinghouse, identified what would occur in the unlikely event of a small-break loss of coolant accident (LOCA) in the Westinghouse SMR. It also defined the test program that Westinghouse will conduct in the future to prove that its safety systems would safely shut down the reactor in response to a small-break LOCA.

As a major technical innovation, the potential for intermediate- and large-break LOCAs is eliminated in the Westinghouse SMR design because there are no large primary penetrations of the reactor vessel or large loop piping.

The Westinghouse SMR is a 225 MWe integral pressurized water reactor with all primary components located inside of the reactor vessel. It is the company’s next product innovation, utilizing passive safety systems and proven components to provide safe, clean and reliable electricity. The Westinghouse SMR is derived from the AP1000 plant, which received a design certification.

Westinghouse Electric, a group company of Toshiba Corp. (TKY:6502), 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 pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pa.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.