Westinghouse applies for UK Generic Design Assessment of its AP300 SMR

15 February 2024

US-based Westinghouse Electric Company has formally submitted an application to the UK Department of Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ) for approval to enter the General Design Assessment (GDA) process for its AP300 small modular reactor (SMR).

The AP300 SMR design is based on Westinghouse’s AP1000 technology, which has regulatory approval in the UK, US and China, as well as compliance with European Utility Requirements (EUR) standards for NPPs. The AP300 SMR was recently selected for the next phase of Great British Nuclear and selected by Community Nuclear Power (CNP), which seeks to build four units in Northeast England. Westinghouse says these projects will also leverage its 75-year history of nuclear fuel manufacturing operations in the UK at its facility in Springfields, Lancashire.

“The UK regulators are already very familiar with the AP300 SMR’s underpinning technology,” said David Durham, Westinghouse Energy Systems President. Westinghouse’s AP300 SMR will utilise the AP1000 engineering, components and supply chain, enabling streamlined licensing and leveraging available technical skills. “Together, these factors provide confidence that the first operating unit will be available in the early 2030s, Westinghouse said.

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. DESNZ has asked ONR, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to begin a GDA for Holtec International’s SMR-300.

Image: Visualisation of the Westinghouse AP300 SMR (courtesy of Westinghouse)

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