Following President Obama’s $97 million budget request last week to support research into small modular reactors (SMRs), Westinghouse introduced a 200-MW class integral pressurized water reactor modeled on the company’s third-generation AP1000 reactor. The company also said it was preparing to collaborate with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SMR demonstration program.
The Toshiba Corp. group said its SMR design—the newest in the company’s portfolio—would use passive safety systems while reducing the number of plant components required. The SMR, built on Westinghouse experience, would provide “design, construction, and operation certainty that no other SMR supplier can match,” said Dr. Kate Jackson, Westinghouse senior vice president for research and technology and chief technology officer, in a press release.
Westinghouse has been developing the International Reactor Innovative and Secure (IRIS) for years, a Gen IV 335-MW pressurized water reactor that uses 17 x 17 assemblies. The newer SMR design derives both its core and reactor vessel internals from the AP1000. The core is composed of partial-height derivatives of the 17 x 17 fuel assembly used in the AP1000, the company said.
As the World Nuclear Association notes, the SMR design will be factory-made and shipped to site by rail, then installed below ground level. “It appears that this may take over from IRIS as the company’s small reactor, since the entire reactor comprises one factory-made module, apparently about 25 metres high and 4 metres diameter,” the organization adds.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is currently reviewing six SMR designs—including the NuScale, the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor, Toshiba’s 4S, the Hyperion, GE Hitachi’s PRISM reactor, and Babcock & Wilcox’s mPower reactor (for more on these designs, see “Are Smaller Reactors Better?” in POWER’s November 2010 issue).
In related news, GE Hitachi Nuclear (GEH) today (Feb. 23) announced that it had formally applied to renew the design certification for its advanced boiling water reactor (ABWR) for 15 years beyond June 2012, when the original certification is set to expire. “The application includes important updates to the 1,350-plus-megawatt ABWR design including the current NRC requirement for an aircraft-impact assessment,” GEH said.
When certified by the NRC in 1997, the ABWR was the first Gen III reactor approved for U.S. construction. Only the proposed two-unit South Texas Project has opted for the reactor design. Two of four ABWRs are operating in Japan, having entered service in 1996 and 1997—and five more are being built in Japan and Taiwan.
Sources: POWERnews, POWER, Westinghouse, GEH