Westinghouse will put the pebble bed concept forward for the US Department of Energy’s Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project.

The reactor vendor has signed a memoradum of understanding with the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology (INET) at China’s Tsinghua University to form a “cooperative relationship for bidding on and participating in the NGNP project.”

Westinghouse is the leader in an NGNP team which also includes INET, Sargent & Lundy, the Shaw Group and PBMR Pty of South Africa.

PBMR Pty have plans to build a 400MWt demonstration reactor at Koeberg as the first of a fleet both in South Africa and worldwide. INET has constructed the HTR-10 pebble bed test reactor and plans to commercialise later designs through Chinergy. PBMR Pty also have an agreement with Chinergy for cooperation on the development of the design concept.

Westinghouse is owned by the UK government’s BNFL concern, which holds 22.5% of PBMR Pty shares. Other shareholders include the South African Industrial Development Corporation with 25% and the utility Eskom with 30%.

The NGNP project consists of the research, development, demonstration and commercial application of an advanced reactor. The objective is to demonstrate the technical and economic feasilibility of using an advanced design for electricity and hydrogen production at the USA’s Idaho National Laboratory.