Bruce Power to help explore use of eVinci in Canada

12 October 2020

Bruce Power and Westinghouse Electric Company have agreed to pursue applications of Westinghouse's eVinci micro reactor programme within Canada. The companies said the agreement supports efforts by the federal and provincial governments to study applications for nuclear technology to reach their goal of a Net Zero Canada by 2050.

The eVinci micro reactor (Image: Westinghouse)

Over the next year, the work between Bruce Power and Westinghouse will focus on furthering public policy and the regulatory framework; assessing the economic, social and environmental contribution of the eVinci technology compared to alternatives, such as diesel or other fossil fuels; identifying potential industrial applications; and accelerating the roadmap for Canada to host a demonstration unit as part of the federal small modular reactor action plan.

The eVinci micro reactor is a next-generation, small battery for decentralised generation markets and micro grids such as remote communities, remote industrial mines and critical infrastructure. It is designed to provide competitive and resilient power and superior reliability with minimal maintenance, and its small size allows for standard transportation methods and rapid, on-site deployment.

The reactor has channels for fuel pellets and heat pipes that remove heat from the core, and has minimal moving parts. Fuel is encapsulated in the core, which the company says significantly reduces proliferation risk and enhances overall safety for the user. The heat pipes enable passive core heat extraction and inherent power regulation, allowing autonomous operation and inherent load following capabilities.

The reactor core is designed to run for three or more years, eliminating the need for frequent refueling. It can provide combined heat and power from 200 kWe to 25 MWe, and process heat of up to 600 degrees Celsius.

"Our eVinci technology can provide clean, reliable energy to remote areas and industrial applications across Canada,” said Westinghouse President and CEO Patrick Fragman.

Mike Rencheck, president and CEO of Bruce Power, added: "Bruce Power will leverage our relationships and capacity within the Nuclear Innovation Institute and Laurentian University-based Mining Innovation, Rehabilitation and Applied Research Corporation towards this exciting opportunity for Canada."

Westinghouse applied in February 2018 to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) of the eVinci. The CNSC offers the pre-licensing VDR as an optional service to provide an assessment of a nuclear power plant design based on a vendor's reactor technology. It is not a required part of the licensing process for a new nuclear power plant, but aims to verify the acceptability of a design with respect to Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations.

The three phases of the VDR process involve a pre-licensing assessment of compliance with regulatory requirements; an assessment of any potential fundamental barriers to licensing; and a follow-up phase allowing the vendor to respond to findings from the second phase.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News