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Westinghouse begins UK licensing process for AP300

The company has formally submitted an application to the UK Department of Energy Security and Net Zero for approval to enter the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) for the AP300 small modular reactor.

Westinghouse's vision of an AP300 plant (Image: Westinghouse)

Westinghouse is one of six small modular reactor (SMR) suppliers shortlisted in October 2023 to bid for support from the UK government as part of plans to quadruple the country's nuclear energy capacity to 24 GW by 2050, and earlier this month announced it has signed an agreement with Community Nuclear Power Limited to build four AP300s in northeast England. This would be the UK's first privately-financed SMR fleet.

The 300 MWe reactor design is based on Westinghouse's AP1000 technology, a design which is already licensed in the UK. AP1000 units have regulatory approval - and are in operation - in China and the USA and the design is also compliant with European Utility Requirements standards for nuclear power plants. Westinghouse says this brings licensing advantages and substantially reduces delivery risk for customers.

"The AP300 SMR builds on the pedigree of the already approved AP1000, and we are very optimistic that the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero will approve our GDA application," Westinghouse Energy Systems President David Durham said. "The UK regulators are already very familiar with the AP300 SMR's underpinning technology, so we look forward to working with them to progress the timely development and deployment of this advanced, proven technology in the UK."

Utilising the AP1000 engineering, components and supply chain enables streamlined licensing and leverages available technical skills, the company says. The projects will also leverage Westinghouse's 75-year history of nuclear manufacturing operations in the UK at its facility in Springfields, Lancashire.

The GDA process is carried out by two UK regulators - the Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency - to assess the safety, security, and environmental protection aspects of a nuclear power plant designs. It allows the regulators to assess the safety, security and environmental implications of new reactor designs, separately from applications to build them at specific sites.

Generic Design Assessments have previously been completed for the EDF/AREVA UK EPR, the Westinghouse AP1000, the Hitachi-GE UK ABWR and the CGN/EDF/GNI UK HPR1000 designs. A GDA assessment is currently ongoing for Rolls-Royce SMR Limited's Small Modular Reactor design, and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in January announced that its BWRX-300 SMR design is to enter the GDA process.

Westinghouse begins UK licensing process for AP300 : Regulation & Safety - World Nuclear News (