Mitsubishi partners with Iberdrola on APWR

02 June 2010

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is to team up with Spain's Iberdrola in the construction of its Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (APWR) in Europe.


The APWR design (Image: MHI)

MHI has agreed with Iberdrola Ingenieria y Construccion - the engineering and construction subsidiary of Spanish energy group Iberdrola - to collaborate in the bidding for nuclear power plant construction in some European countries.


In a statement, MHI said that the two companies have already signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on an exclusive basis for the qualification process to an undisclosed European utility. However, a report from Spain's EFE news agency suggested that this utility is Finland's Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), which recently received government approval to construct a fourth reactor at its Olkiluoto site. Under the MoU, MHI will be responsible for overall engineering of the nuclear power plant and major plant components and equipment, while Iberdrola will be in charge of installation work and design, procurement and commissioning of the nuclear island.


Through this collaborative initiative, MHI said that it aims to accelerate market penetration of its 1700 MWe APWR design. The company added that this agreement marks its first collaborative partnership with a European company relating to the APWR.


In March 2008, MHI announced plans to launch a version of its APWR specifically for the European market. The company said that the reactor design will meet the European Utility Requirements (EUR) for light-water reactors, which have been developed by a group of 16 European electricity generators since the early 1990s covering such areas as safety, security, performance, quality and design. MHI said that it is currently conducting a feasibility study of the APWR for compliance with European safety requirements.


The EU version of the APWR is based on the 1538 MWe APWR models planned for units 3 and 4 of Japan Atomic Power Co's Tsuruga nuclear power plant. However, the reactor will feature design changes that reflect the demands of European customers for enhanced performance. The proposed enhancements include a thermal efficiency of 39%, a 20% reduction in plant building volume, 24-month fuel cycle lengths, and increasing the unit's capacity to 1700 MWe.


In the USA, MHI submitted its application for a US-specific version of its APWR with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in December 2007. The design is currently undergoing the NRC's certification process. The US version of the reactor will also have a capacity of 1700 MWe.


Last month, US utility Dominion selected the US APWR design for the potential third unit at its North Anna nuclear power plant in Virginia. The company expects to make a decision later in 2010 whether to go ahead with the unit's construction. Luminant has also chosen the APWR as the basis for plans to build two new reactors at the Comanche Peak site in Texas.


Researched and written

by World Nuclear News