UK partners for Westinghouse

13 January 2010

Westinghouse has enlisted Serco as a safety-case specialist for the final stage of reactor design assessment in the UK as well as a Shaw-Laing O'Rourke consortium for construction.

Serco was announced as Westinghouse's lead safety advisor in the UK today in the company's push for a successful Generic Design Assessment of its AP1000 nuclear reactor design.


Westinghouse UK CEO Mike Tynan said Serco "brings a wealth of experience in UK nuclear assurance and in the development of safety cases for nuclear plants and processes." This will be "invaluable as we work to deliver the challenging work program" in the final stage of GDA, said Tynan. In October last year, the position of GDA project director was created and Simon Marshall drafted in from a previous Westinghouse role.

In November the US-based reactor vendor was told of a number of areas in which it must step up its information on the safety of the AP1000 design. UK regulators want more detailed reports on its resistance to external hazards (like earthquake, aircraft impact or flood) as well as on the steel-concrete-steel construction of some buildings and the design of large squib valves.


The comments from UK authorities came at the mid-point of the GDA process immediately before the 18-month detailed assessment began. Tynan said the conclusion was that "no 'show-stopper' issues had been identified," but "a substantial body of detailed work remains to be completed."


Company connections 


While Serco will contribute to Westinghouse's ongoing GDA work, the vendor has made a number of agreements with other firms to support eventual deployment of AP1000 in the UK.


Most recently was a construction deal with a consortium of Laing O'Rourke and Shaw Group for UK new build. Shaw is already a partner for Westinghouse in China and the USA, while Laing O'Rourke is the largest privately owned construction company in Britain. Under an agreement announced on 22 December the consortium will provide engineering, procurement and construction services as well as construction management for any future UK AP1000 projects.


Engineering support should also come from BAE Systems, Doosan Babcock and Rolls-Royce after separate memorandums of understanding were completed with Westinghouse in September 2008. Collectively those agreements covered the design, fabrication and integration of modules; the erection and assembly of components; nuclear component manufacturing; safety and technical support and support for commissioning.


Westinghouse said the above agreements could see up to 80% of AP1000 work going to UK companies, while it has already used Sheffield Forgemasters to make pump casings for Chinese AP1000s.


Sanmen containment vessel bottom head, January 2010Construction milestone 


Westinghouse and Shaw celebrated the installation of Sanmen 1's containment
vessel bottom head this week.
The 40-metre-wide component was made by Shandong Nuclear Power Equipment Manufacturing Co, which is also making other modules for the Chinese AP1000 projects such as the CA-20 Auxiliary Building visible in this picture.
The component and its supporting structures weighed 900 tonnes. It is part of an airtight capsule that will contain the reactor and primary coolant circuit components.




Researched and written

by World Nuclear News