Agreement signed for planned UK fleet of AP300 reactors

08 February 2024

Westinghouse has signed an agreement with Community Nuclear Power Limited (CNP) for the construction of four AP300 small modular reactors (SMRs) in the North Teesside region of northeast England. It would be the UK's first privately-financed SMR fleet.

How the AP300 might look (Image: Westinghouse)

CNP - formed in September 2022 - is working with strategic partners, including Jacobs and Interpath Advisory, to develop a fully licensed site for the project, with a target of 2027. The project is being privately funded.

"The component parts and agreements needed to make this ground-breaking proposition happen - land, capability, technology, private capital funding, and community demand - are in place," CNP said. "This is the first privately funded project deploying SMRs anywhere in Europe, and our goal is to be generating clean energy with in ten years' time.

"There is mature market-led demand in Teesside for clean, reliable energy - in this instance a programme to build a specialised site that provides green sustainable power for the region and supports the development of a Green Energy and Chemical Hub on the North Tees Group Estate, with the ambition of producing power to liquids (e-fuels and e-chemicals) through an offtake ecosystem on the north bank of the River Tees, near Stockton-on-Tees.

"The North Tees Group Estate is reclaimed and regenerated industrial land, and the provision of clean, always-on energy from at least four AP300s will help attract inward investment and high-value jobs."

Westinghouse said the collaboration "will further expand scale for workforce, training and supply chain localisation via multiple deployment projects", adding that it is a "significant step in making this new energy sector a reality with commercial operation expected by the early 2030s".

The project is in accordance with the recently published UK Government Alternative Routes to Market for New Nuclear Projects consultation and complementary to and supportive of Westinghouse's participation in Great British Nuclear's (GBN's) SMR technology selection process, Westinghouse noted.

"This project brings together Westinghouse's proven technology and mature supply chain with our depth of expertise in nuclear programme delivery, in a region that is transforming its industrial landscape," said CNP CEO Paul Foster. "We are delighted to be working with Westinghouse in support of private deployment in North Teesside."

Westinghouse launched its AP300 SMR in May last year. It is a single-loop pressurised water reactor based on the AP1000 technology and the company hopes to get design certification by 2027, with construction of a first unit beginning in 2030, with operation slated for 2033.

"We want to thank Community Nuclear Power for this tremendous opportunity to deliver our advanced, proven AP300 SMR technology to the UK market," said David Durham, Westinghouse President, Energy Systems. "Our AP300 SMR is ideally suited not just to support grid generation, but also for industrial sites for generating clean and secure energy and the ability to produce hydrogen, e-fuels, desalination and district heating."

Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, welcomed the agreement, saying: "Nuclear is an essential part of our journey to energy security and net-zero and this project shows that there is real appetite for new nuclear in the UK. A fleet of SMRs has the potential to bring significant investment and jobs to regions across the country, as well as providing clean energy for homes and industrial sites.

"Nuclear has already played a vital role in powering the North East, helping to give it some of the cleanest power anywhere in the UK and creating good jobs for people. We look forward to seeing how this project develops alongside others in the pipeline."

The UK government has plans to expand nuclear energy capacity to 24 GW by 2050, with a fleet of SMRs a key part of that strategy. Last year, the government and the new GBN arms-length body set up to help deliver that extra capacity began the selection process for which SMR technology to use. In October, EDF, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Holtec, NuScale Power, Rolls Royce SMR and Westinghouse were invited to bid for UK government contracts in the next stage of the process.

"We are at the final stages now of preparing and getting the approvals for the invitation to submit an initial tender document," GBN chairman Simon Bowen told WNN last month. "This is the next stage where all six companies will engage with our contractual documentation in terms of how we think it should be structured. They'll submit the responses in their initial tender, we will then go through a process to down-select to around about four with the aim to be placing contracts later in the year."

World Nuclear News podcast: Great British Nuclear's Simon Bowen on the UK's plans for 24GW and the SMR contest:



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