Westinghouse Electric Company said Wednesday that it would engage with Britain's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) to study various aspects of manufacturing efficiency that would help with the development of small modular reactors (SMR) for Britain and beyond.
The company previously engaged with the research center on a study of the Westinghouse SMR Reactor Pressure Vessel, which is one of the largest and most demanding part of any reactor, the company noted. That study concluded earlier this year with the analysis indicating that the Westinghouse SMR design was compatible with manufacturing in the UK. The study concluded “Westinghouse's design had the potential to be efficiently manufactured in the UK, a significant growth market for Westinghouse,” the company said.
A study that determines that SMR manufacturing is viable in Britain has several strategic advantages for Westinghouse. Britain is viewed as a modern, Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development member country with tough nuclear regulator standards that is, at the same time, in favor of using nuclear power for its future energy needs. Meeting regulatory approval in Britain can open doors to other markets, given Britain has high regulatory standards that other regulators tend to respect. In addition, it is an English-speaking country close to a large potential market in Europe.
To establish an industrial base on Britain with a controversial product, it doesn't hurt if Westinghouse can point to a study that says Britain's economy will benefit from a SMR initiative in the country.
The aim of the new study is to reduce costs of SMRs through advanced manufacturing analysis. The potential efficiencies and reduced lead times “can provide important reductions in costs to customers, while providing growth in manufacturing within the UK,” the company said.
For the latest advanced manufacturing study, alongside Nuclear AMRC, Westinghouse has also partnered with Cammell Laird, which has over forty years experience in the design, manufacture, assembly and transport of large complex modules to a number of “safety critical sectors,” said Cammell Laird Managing Director Jonathan Brown.
“Greater research and development focus on technologies surrounding SMR manufacture, from follow-up studies such as this, will reduce the risk, minimize the lead times, whilst significantly optimizing costs and quality delivery performance,” said Mike Tynan, Nuclear AMRC's chief executive officer.
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