CNSC vendor design review of eVinci microreactor to begin

September 29, 2022, 12:05PMNuclear News

Westinghouse's eVinci microreactor (Image: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company has signed a service agreement with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to bring the eVinci microreactor closer to commercialization, the company announced Tuesday. The agreement initiates a vendor design review (VDR)—a prelicensing technical assessment of a company’s reactor technology.

The objective of a VDR, according to the CNSC, is to verify the acceptability of a nuclear power plant design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations, as well as Canadian codes and standards. The review also aims to identify fundamental barriers to licensing a new design in Canada and to assure that a resolution path exists for any design issues identified.

A phased review: The VDR process involves three phases:

Phase 1: Prelicensing Assessment of Compliance with Regulatory Requirements, which involves an overall assessment of the vendor’s design against the most recent CNSC design requirements for new nuclear power plants in Canada.

Phase 2: Prelicensing Assessment for Any Potential Fundamental Barriers to Licensing, which goes into further detail, with a focus on identifying any potential fundamental barriers to licensing the vendor’s design.

Phase 3: Follow-up, which allows the vendor to follow up on certain aspects of phase 2 findings by seeking more information from the CNSC about a phase 2 topic and/or asking the CNSC to review activities taken by the vendor toward the reactor’s design readiness, following the completion of phase 2.

Westinghouse said in its announcement that it will execute both phases 1 and 2 of the VDR as a combined program, signaling the eVinci microreactor’s design and technology maturity.

Signer’s language: “Our state-of-the-art eVinci microreactor technology will unlock additional potential in remote communities and decentralized industrial sites,” said David Durham, president of energy systems at Westinghouse. “Westinghouse’s nuclear battery technology can safely provide heat and power for more than eight years of continuous operations. We look forward to applying this technology across the country while creating local jobs and advancing Canada’s energy security and net-zero goals.”

The tech: Westinghouse describes the eVinci as “essentially a small battery for decentralized generation markets and for microgrids, such as remote communities, remote industrial mines, and critical infrastructure.”

According to the company, key attributes of the eVinci include the following[MM1] [MT2] :

Transportable energy generator.

Fully factory built, fueled, and assembled.

1 MWe to 5 MWe combined heat and power.

40-year design life, with a three-plus year refueling interval.

Target of less than 30 days on-site installation.

Autonomous operation.

Power demand load following capability.

Minimal moving parts.

Near-zero emergency planning zone with small site footprint.

In case you missed it: The Canadian government in March of this year announced an investment of C$27.2 million (about $21.6 million) in Westinghouse Electric Canada to support the development of the eVinci technology. The investment was made through the Strategic Innovation Fund’s Net Zero Accelerator initiative, a program designed to attract and help high-quality business investments that support Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a government news release.

Also, a feasibility study completed last year by Westinghouse and Bruce Power concluded that the eVinci microreactor is capable of providing cost-competitive clean energy to decentralized, off-grid markets in Canada. The study focused on key market opportunities, including remote communities and industrial mines, and identified benefits the Westinghouse technology could provide in support of the Canadian government’s decarbonization goals.

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