Officials at Westinghouse Electric Co. announce the next step in the production of fuel for the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR). The Westinghouse engineering design team in the fuel fabrication facility in Columbia, SC, has initiated fabrication of the Westinghouse SMR prototype fuel assemblies for testing.
The Westinghouse SMR fuel design began in 2011 and is based on the proven Robust Fuel Assembly (RFA) technology used in the fuel for the four Westinghouse AP1000 nuclear power plant units currently under construction in China, as well as the four AP1000 units being built in Georgia and South Carolina, the first new nuclear power plants to be built in the U.S. in over a generation. Additionally, the RFA technology has been used successfully in more than 50 reactors over the last 15 years. Over 18,000 RFAs have been delivered to customers around the world.
To ensure the successful operation of the SMR fuel design, planned hydraulic testing will include full-scale test assemblies and will simulate SMR reactor operation to confirm acceptable performance of the fuel design and support input to the SMR Design Certification submittal to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Production of test assemblies will allow evaluation of the manufacturing capability for SMR fuel and identify areas for improvement. Technical reviews of the overall design and the hydraulic testing plan already have been performed as part of this development process, and manufacturing of the components for the test assemblies currently is underway.
Fuel manufactured at the Westinghouse fuel fabrication facility in Columbia is used in approximately half of the U.S. nuclear plants and provides approximately 10 percent of all U.S. electricity production.
The Westinghouse SMR team, including the NexStart SMR Alliance, a consortium of current and prospective nuclear plant owners and operators; cooperative, municipal and investor-owned electric service providers; and other public and private enterprises, will work collaboratively to execute a proposed project having an objective of receiving from the NRC design certification of the Westinghouse SMR, and then a combined construction and operating license for a Westinghouse SMR at Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center.
The Westinghouse SMR is a 225MWe 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, as well as modular construction techniques – all realized and already licensed in the nuclear industry-leading AP1000 nuclear power plant design. The AP1000 reactor is the first and only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the NRC and currently is being built in China and the U.S. Westinghouse believes that by building upon the concepts and advances in technology achieved in the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor, the Westinghouse SMR design will provide licensing, construction and operational certainty that no other SMR supplier can match with competitive economics.