2024: The State of Advanced Reactors

January 19, 2024, 3:07PMNuclear NewsMatt Wald

Designs for high-tech products, and the start-ups that offer them, will always outnumber the commercial successes. Ditto: many more power plants are proposed than actually get built, no matter what the technology.

This is an axiom of free-market economies, but in early November 2023 it became painfully obvious in the advanced reactor field. NuScale Power, the only advanced reactor that has made it through the licensing gauntlet, acknowledged that the consortium of utilities that was its intended launch customer had failed to put together a feasible package.

Obstacles to new nuclear in Sweden cleared

December 4, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Aerial view of Sweden’s parliament building, Riksdagshuset, in Stockholm. (Photo: Arild Vågen/Wikipedia)

Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag, has approved legislative amendments from Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson’s government that will remove the country’s prohibition on new reactor construction at sites other than Sweden’s three current nuclear plants—Forsmark, Ringhals, and Oskarshamn—and do away with the limitation on the number of simultaneously operating reactors, currently capped at 10.

The amendments enter force on January 1.

“The Riksdag shares the government’s assessment that fossil-free electricity from nuclear power will also continue to play a role of central importance in the Swedish energy mix,” the legislative body said in a statement following the November 29 vote. “The main reasons for this are an expected greater demand for electricity in combination with the fact that fossil fuels have to be phased out, particularly for climate reasons. Nuclear power also contributes to the stable and predictable functioning of the Swedish power system.”

Westinghouse, OPG to explore reactor deployment opportunities

November 30, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News
Westinghouse’s Fragman (left) and OPG’s Ken Hartwick at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ontario Power Generation have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a framework to identify potential areas of cooperation for the deployment of nuclear technologies in Canada, the companies jointly announced this morning. (While based in Cranberry Township, Pa., Westinghouse is owned by Canadian firms Brookfield Asset Management and Cameco.)

U.K. picks six to advance in SMR competition

October 4, 2023, 12:08PMNuclear News

The U.K. government has chosen six companies to participate in the next stage of its small modular reactor competition: EDF, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Holtec Britain Limited, NuScale Power, Rolls-Royce SMR (the only real home team), and Westinghouse Electric Company UK Limited. According to the government’s October 2 announcement, the advanced technologies offered by these firms are “the most able to deliver operational SMRs by the mid-2030s.”

Westinghouse pursues AP300 deployment in Ukraine

September 18, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
Westinghouse president and CEO Patrick Fragman (seated at left) and Energoatom president Petro Kotin (seated at right) sign an MOU on AP300 deployment in Ukraine. Standing behind Fragman and Kotin is Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko. (Photo: Energoatom)

Westinghouse Electric Company and Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom have signed a memorandum of understanding on the development and deployment of the American firm’s AP300 small modular reactor in the Eastern European state.

EDF, JAVYS ink new nuclear pact for Slovakia

September 6, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News

Pavol Štuller, JAVYS chairman and chief executive officer, on the left, and Vakisasai Ramany, EDF senior vice president in charge of new nuclear development, sign an agreement in Paris.

Slovakia’s state-owned nuclear company JAVYS has announced the signing of a framework cooperation agreement (FCA) with France’s EDF for further cooperation “in the field of nuclear energy and in the implementation of projects aimed at development of large power reactors and small modular reactors.” Currently, the Slovakian nuclear fleet consists of two VVER-440/V213 pressurized water reactors at Bohunice, and two at Mochovce (with two more units on their way).

The signing took place on August 25 during an official visit to Paris by Slovakia’s minister of economy Peter Dovhun.

Westinghouse scores trio of grants from U.K. fuel fund

July 28, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News
An aerial view of Westinghouse’s Springfields Fuel Fabrication Facility, near Preston, Lancashire, in northwestern England. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Through its now one-year-old Nuclear Fuel Fund, the U.K. government has awarded Westinghouse three grants to upgrade and expand the Springfields Fuel Fabrication Facility to support Britain’s next-generation nuclear reactors, the American-based company announced yesterday.

Slovakia shows interest in deploying Westinghouse reactors

July 18, 2023, 3:06PMNuclear News
From left: Petr Brzezina, president, Westinghouse Czech Republic and Slovakia; Elias Gedeon, senior vice president, Westinghouse commercial operations; Gautam Rana, U.S. ambassador to Slovakia; and Pavol Štuller, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, JAVYS. (Photo: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse Electric Company yesterday announced the signing of two memorandums of understanding with Slovakia’s state-owned nuclear company JAVYS regarding the potential deployment of the U.S. firm’s AP1000 reactors and AP300 small modular reactors.

Change to climate goal language boosts Sweden’s nuclear prospects

July 5, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

Sweden’s parliament, the Riksdag, recently endorsed a proposal in the government’s spring amending budget to change the country’s 2040 climate goal of 100 percent renewable electricity production to 100 percent fossil fuel–free electricity production.

Westinghouse, Fortum to study SMRs in Finland, Sweden

June 8, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

Representatives of Westinghouse and Fortum sign MOUs in Helsinki, Finland, on June 7. From left are Laurent Leveugle, vice president of new nuclear at Fortum; Petra Lundström, executive vice president of nuclear generation at Fortum; Elias Gedeon, senior vice president of commercial operations at Westinghouse; and Roman Romanowski, vice president of new plant market development at Westinghouse. (Photo: Westinghouse).

Looking to add Finland and Sweden to its growing list of potential reactor customers in Europe, Westinghouse Electric Company on June 7 announced the signing of memoranda of understanding with Finnish state-owned energy company Fortum—operator of the two-unit Loviisa nuclear plant—to explore the possibilities of developing and deploying AP1000 and AP300 reactor projects in the two Nordic nations. The MOUs, according to Westinghouse, establish a framework of collaboration for detailed technical and commercial discussions.

Westinghouse submits AP300 regulatory engagement plan to NRC

May 15, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
A cutaway depiction of the AP300 SMR. (Image: Westinghouse)

Just days after immediately achieving key-player status in the small modular reactor market with the unveiling of its AP300 SMR, Westinghouse Electric Company on May 9 announced the filing of the new unit’s preapplication regulatory engagement plan with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The plan outlines the preapplication activities Westinghouse intends to carry out with NRC staff to support the AP300’s licensing. According to the announcement, the plan documents the basic design philosophy of the technology, an overview of the proposed licensing approach, and a timeline for the planned preapplication interactions between the NRC and Westinghouse, with the goal of soliciting agency feedback on noteworthy topics.

Westinghouse unveils SMR version of AP1000

May 4, 2023, 3:01PMNuclear News
Rendering of a Westinghouse AP300 plant. (Image: Westinghouse)

At a virtual press conference this morning, Westinghouse Electric Company president and chief executive officer Patrick Fragman announced the launch of the AP300 small modular reactor, a 300-MWe, 900-MWth single-loop pressurized water reactor based on the company’s larger AP1000 unit. Fragman was joined at the conference by David Durham, president of energy systems for Westinghouse, and Rita Baranwal, the firm’s chief technology officer. The company also released a short video introducing the AP300 on YouTube.