The Westinghouse Electric Company has unveiled plans for the first small modular reactor (SMR) based on a proven nuclear power plant design.
“The AP300 is the only small modular reactor offering available that is based on deployed, operating and advanced reactor technology,” claims Patrick Fragman. Fragman is the President and CEO of Westinghouse. A small modular reactor is a smaller nuclear reactor they can build on an assembly line.
The AP300 SMR uses Gen III+ the same technology as Westinghouse’s API 1000 pressurized reactor. Four API000 reactors are operating in China, and six more are under construction in that country. There is a fifth AP1000 reactor operating at Plant Vogtle, Georgia, USA. They are building another AP1000 at Plant Vogtle.
Importantly, Gen III has regulatory approval in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and the European Union. However, AP300 SMR has no regulatory approval. Westinghouse claims it can get regulatory approval for the AP300 by 2027.
Westinghouse enters the SMR Business
The AP1000 uses a nuclear reactor to make steam to generate 1,000 megawatts, or one billion watts, of electricity. In contrast, the AP300 uses the same technology to generate 300 megawatts (300 million watts) of electricity.
The AP300 uses a single-loop pressurized water reactor. Westinghouse artwork shows the AP300 could be small enough to cover one quarter of a football field. A standard American football field contains 57,600 square feet (17,556.48 square meters) or 1.32 acres. Hence, I calculate the AP300 will cover 14,400 square feet (4,389.12 square meters) or one third of an acre.
Therefore, an AP300 is small enough to fit in many places an AP1000 could never fit. For example, at old coal-burning power plants and in urban areas. They can also use AP300s to power smaller towns or facilities such as college campuses, factories, and military bases.
An AP300 SMR could operate for over 80 years, a Westinghouse press release claims. Westinghouse claims to have devoted tens of millions of hours in research to developing the AP1000.
Westinghouse has been building nuclear reactors for 65 years
Westinghouse has been building reactors since the dawn of the nuclear age. For example, Westinghouse built the world’s first pressurized water reactor at Shippingport, Pennsylvania, in 1957. Hence, Westinghouse has been building reactors for 65 years.
Westinghouse Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President Dr. Rita Baranwal is leading the AP300’s development. Baranwal was the Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy for the US Department of Energy. She also served as Director of the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation at the Idaho National Laboratory. The US Department of Energy tests new technology, including SMRs, at the Idaho National Laboratory.
Westinghouse is a subsidiary of Brookfield Business Partners (BBU). Thus you can you invest in the SMR revolution by buying BBU stock.