British Energy (BE) and BNFL signed an agreement on work to assess the feasibility of the Westinghouse AP1000 design as a potential option to replace BE’s existing reactors, when they reach the end of their operating lives.

The BE/BNFL agreement will initially run for a year, and will involve BNFL/Westinghouse as the prospective vendor and BE as the prospective customer in:

• Preparing a case to include the AP1000 as an option for new plant in the UK.

• Assessing the technical suitability of AP1000 reactors on existing reactor sites.

• Preparing a business model addressing issues such as launch costs, economics and risk sharing.

• Documenting key factors associated with AP1000 and recommending an implementation strategy.

The agreement is similar to one signed last December between BE and Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) for the Candu-NG — the other reactor design that BE believes could be commercially available on the right timescale for the UK.

Executive chairman of BE Robin Jeffrey said: “The government’s energy policy review acknowledged the key role which could be played by nuclear power in ensuring a balanced, stable and secure energy supply. This conclusion, coupled with the clear recommendation from the House of Lords Select Committee on security of supply that the UK should maintain a nuclear share in generation of no less than 20%, signals a positive future for the UK’s nuclear industry.” NEI reported on the energy review and the report on the security of energy supply on page 3 of the March 2002 edition or for online users please select the story from the links below.

Speaking at the signing of the formal agreement in London, BNFL CEO Norman Askew said that the AP1000 design “is ready for deployment now and we are delighted that BE want to pursue this option with us further.”