NRC Says OK For Westinghouse To Test Small Modular Reactor

Westinghouse Electric Company has announced that federal regulators have granted permission for the company to test its small modular reactor design, or SMR.

Westinghouse called this a “significant step towards design certification,” which will reduce the time needed to license the company's modular reactors.

Permission to go ahead with tests came in a letter dated Feb. 27, 2015, the company said. It came in the form of a Safety Evaluation Report or SER, permission for which was submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in April 2012.

The SER “identified what would occur in the unlikely event of a small break loss of coolant accident (LOCA) in the Westinghouse SMR,” the company said in a statement. It also involved designs for a shut-down process should a leak event occur.

Westinghouse, a group company of Toshiba Corporation, noted that the potential for an intermediate or large break LOCA “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 amendment from the NRC in 2011. Eight AP1000 units are currently under construction at four sites in the United States and China.

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