US-based Westinghouse Electric Company on 5 May announced the acquisition of ABB's AC160N control platform, which serves as the background technology for its US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)-approved Common Q™ safety systems platform. “This acquisition marks a key investment into the company's instrumentation and control (I&C) portfolio to broaden its support of nuclear utilities' long-term operational strategies,” Westinghouse said.

The AC160N technology was developed specifically for Westinghouse and is designed to operate in demanding nuclear environments to produce significant processing power in a small footprint. The acquisition preserves the licensing pedigree of Common Q for the more than 40 nuclear plants that currently utilise the technology and enhances security of supply for spare parts and software support services.

"Safety system upgrades are more critical than ever as utilities seek to preserve the life of their plants in order to produce even more affordable, carbon-free energy," said Patrick Fragman, Westinghouse President and CEO. "This acquisition represents a strategic investment into the long-term operations and enhanced performance of the global operating fleet. It also gives Westinghouse the full control of the technology regarding its use and evolutions." Westinghouse has received regulatory approval from the NRC to transition the ownership of AC160N via a Safety Evaluation Report (SER).

Westinghouse's Common Q safety-grade I&C platform provides utilities with significant operations and maintenance savings through reduced or eliminated surveillances and the high availability and reliability of the AC160N technology. The platform can be installed in nearly any plant design and also seamlessly integrates into existing plant systems to reduce implementation cost and schedule. Common Q is currently installed in 12 US operating plants and 18 operating plants outside of the USA, including the four AP1000 units in China and the APR1400 units in Korea and the UAE.