First US AP1000 simulator contract for GSE

30 July 2010

GSE Systems announced that it had been awarded contracts worth over $7 million for nuclear power plant simulator work, including the construction of the first plant-specific Westinghouse AP1000 plant simulator in the USA. 


The company announced a year ago that it had signed a contract with Westinghouse to model the central nuclear systems of the AP1000 pressurized water reactor for use by US customers. These code modules, it said, would be common to all American AP1000s and would help Westinghouse to demonstrate plant design and control room factors to regulators and potential buyers.


The rest of the systems to make finished simulators will vary in detail from plant to plant. The company noted that a simulator at each new build site is included in the scope of work between Westinghouse and its US customers.


Vogtle, April 2010 (Southern)
Huge areas at Vogtle are already prepared for the reactors and necessary construction offices and material stocks (Image: Southern) 


GSE has now announced the first plant-specific contract to construct an AP1000 simulator in the USA. This is to be for Southern Company's Vogtle site in Georgia, where preliminary site work has already started for the two AP1000 units, slated to begin operation in 2016 and 2017, subject to regulatory processes already underway. In February of this year, Vogtle units 3 and 4 became the first new nuclear power plant construction projects to be offered conditional loan guarantees by the US Department of Energy (DoE).


John Moran, CEO of GSE, commented: "For GSE, the contract for the first domestic AP1000 plant simulator marks the true start of the nuclear renaissance in America. Of the 25 applications formally filed with the NRC to build new reactor plants in the United States, 13 have selected the AP1000 design."


In September 2007, Westinghouse and its partners the Shaw Group received authorization to construct four AP1000 units China: two at Sanmen in Zhejian province and two more at Haiyang in Shandong province. Around that time, GSE was awarded a contract to construct a simulator at the Sanmen plant. In April 2008, GSE said that it had been awarded a multimillion dollar contract to initiate work on a simulator for the Haiyang plant.


That contract was based upon the Haiyang and Sanmen plants being almost identical designs. However, GSE said that as the Haiyang design progressed it deviated from Sanmen. The company said that it has now been awarded a contract to implement the "uncommon" design features of Haiyang in the simulator.


In April 2005, GSE agreed with Westinghouse GSE to cooperate on the development of AP1000 simulators as well as the "verification and validation" of the AP1000 human-machine interface, on which several phases of regulatory tests have been completed.


In addition to the Vogtle and Haiyang contracts, GSE said that it had been awarded a contract by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to upgrade one of the simulators operated by the NRC at its Chattanooga Training Centre in Tennessee.


Researched and written 

by World Nuclear News