Mitsubishi partners Holtec on SMR systems

07 August 2015

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc (MEPPI) is to develop the instrumentation and control systems for Holtec International's SMR-160 reactor under a long-term partnership agreement between the two companies.

Holtec's vision for SMR-160 (Image: Holtec)

MEPPI, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's US subsidiary, will perform the design engineering work for the reactor's digital instrumentation and control systems and for the human-system interface equipment needed to operate the power plant. It will also lead the development of the relevant licensing documents to enable the reactor to be constructed and certified in host countries.

Under the agreement, MEPPI also becomes the global provider-of-choice for electrical components, software and hardware used in the digital instrumentation and control systems and for the human-system interface of the SMR-160.

MEPPI president Brian Heery said the company was "delighted" to be partnered with Holtec in the project. "We are extremely impressed with the SMR-160 design and are committed to providing it an equally high quality control system," he said.

Holtec vice president of reactor technologies Tom Marcille pointed to MEPPI's established position as a technology leader in nuclear plant instrumentation and control. "MEPPI will bring certain state-of-the-art digital control technologies to the SMR-160, as implemented in numerous plants worldwide, with proven licensing and performance certainty," he said.

Holtec's 160 MWe small modular reactor uses low-enriched uranium fuel. The factory-built reactor's core and all nuclear steam supply system components would be located underground, and the design incorporates a wealth of features including a passive cooling system that would be able to operate indefinitely after shutdown. No active components, such as pumps, are needed to run the reactor, which does not need any on-site or off-site power to shut down and to dissipate decay heat. Holtec describes the system as 'walk-away safe', meaning that, in the event of a severe natural disaster or act of sabotage, the plant's innate defences would continue to keep the reactor and its spent fuel pool safe even in the absence of an operator.

Holtec has previously secured engineering, design and qualification support for its work on the SMR-160 from the Shaw Group and URS Corporation, and has a strategic alliance with utility PSEG Power, operator of three nuclear units at Salem and Hope Creek in southern New Jersey. The project was selected by the US Department of Energy in 2012 as one of three small modular reactor projects to potentially be demonstrated at its Savannah River site in South Carolina. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is carrying out pre-application activities on the reactor design in anticipation of a design certification application expected in the final quarter of 2016.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News