Westinghouse Unveils New Small Modular Reactor Design (With video)

Westinghouse unveiled a new small modular reactor design Thursday, introducing the latest addition the the company's lineup the same week the Obama administration proposed $67 million be spent on licensing and technical support for SMRs.


Westinghouse Small Water ReactorWith their potential to reduce construction costs and built times, SMRs lately have attracted the attention of lawmakers and utilities alike. All primary components of the Westinghouse SMR, a 200 MWe integral pressurized water reactor, are located in the reactor vessel. It features passive safety systems and a reduced number of components compared to other reactor designs. Many of the reactor's parts can be manufactured in factories off-site and delivered by truck or rail.

“The Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor enables us to bring together all that we know about operating nuclear plants, designing and licensing plants, and passive safety into a small design that will provide additional power options for our customers," Kate Jackson, Westinghouse senior vice president for research and technology, said in a release.
 
Much of the Westinghouse SMR's design draws from the company's AP1000 design. Westinghouse, according to its website, is part of a consortium currently building four AP1000s in China. Five utilities in the United States also are considering the design for new nuclear plants.

If those projects move forward, the latest design will put Westinghouse in a leading position to take part in a program proposed by the Department of Energy to encourage the development of SMR technology. The proposed 2012 budget for DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy would leverage $67 million in federal funds with private SMR investment.
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- Read the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor Fact Sheet here.
- An interactive presentation on the new reactor can be found on the Westinghouse site.
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Westinghouse Video on the company's Small Modular Reactor:
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Click here to play this video

(Video Source/Credit : Westinghouse)
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Westinghouse's Mike Anness recently participated in a panel discussion on small modular reactors during Platts Energy Week: Watch the video here.

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    What's the cost per kwh for your SMR?  I assume that you will pay 100% of the development and construction costs and not turn to big government for a handout, right?

  • Tom,

    That's an excellent question. At this point, it seems Westinghouse has been holding the estimated construction costs and built time close to the vest. If I can dig up either, I'll be sure to post them

    Thanks,

    Peter

    Nuclear Street News Team

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I would surmise that all the development to this point has been financed internally by Westinghouse.  There is currently a program under development at Savannah River for SMR development and commercialization.  I would expect Westinghouse to have already begun discussions about their SMR being included in that program.

    The question about cost/kwh is an interesting once.  1 - there is no defined or standard formula to determine this cost.  2 - until a SMR is commercially viable (NRC design certified, steady state and transient codes licensed for the NSSS of the plant, etc) the economy of scale will be an order of magnitude.  I have my doubts that ANY SMR can present the same attractive economic model as a larger Generation III+ plant.  That said, I don't believe that is the intent behind SMR development.  The intent is to reduce the overall price tag, footprint and infrastructure needed to utilize this form of electricity generation.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Cost per KWh is impossible to estimate with any credibility when dealing with a toxic waste product that must be contained for 500K years.