US nuclear vendor Westinghouse Electric Company said today that its Springfields facility in the UK has reached the requirements needed to manufacture the company’s small modular reactor (SMR) fuel.

According to Westinghouse, the Springfields facility reached the milestone "following a readiness assessment based upon fabrication data for two proprietary SMR fuel assemblies" manufactured at the company’s Columbia Fuel Fabrication Facility in the USA. (See also Fuelling the Westinghouse SMR – October 2013)

Westinghouse Springfields managing director Mick Gornall said: "Manufacturing Westinghouse SMR fuel at Springfields will secure the future of a strategic national asset of nuclear fuel manufacturing capability and safeguard highly skilled and highly paid UK jobs – something that no other SMR technology provider currently offers."

Westinghouse said the milestone "is an important part of Westinghouse’s proposed partnership with the UK government to deploy SMR technology". Last October, Westinghouse proposed a partnership with the UK government for the design and development of SMR technology to "advance the UK from being a buyer to a global provider of the latest nuclear energy technology". Westinghouse’s SMR design is a 225MWe integral pressurized water reactor with all primary components located inside the reactor vessel.

The partnership "would be structured as a UK-based enterprise jointly owned by Westinghouse, the UK government and UK industry", the company said. The proposal was "intended to complement" the second phase of an ongoing SMR study launched by the UK government. Phase one – an SMR feasibility study commissioned by the government and carried out by the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory – was published in December 2014.



Photo: Prototype SMR fuel produced at Westinghouse’s Columbia factor in 2013