Six utilities back Westinghouse design in UK

19 May 2008

Six major European utilities are providing resources and sharing the costs of taking the AP1000 reactor design through the UK Generic Design Assessment process, Westinghouse has announced.


AP1000 cutaway 

AP1000 (Image: Westinghouse)

The licensing group now comprises EOn UK, Electrabel-Suez, Endesa, Iberdrola, RWE and Vattenfall, according to Westinghouse. "I am delighted that so many potential customers in the UK are working closely with us as we collectively seek to demonstrate that the design meets all necessary UK regulatory standards," said Westinghouse senior vice president Dan Lipman.


All six companies have been linked to potential new-build projects in the UK, possibly through the purchase of an interest in British Energy which owns the most likely sites for possible new reactors. However, Westinghouse's 16 May announcement would appear to run counter to an announcement last month that EOn had selected Areva's 1600 MWe European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) as its exclusive design choice for any UK nuclear power plants.


The Generic Design Assessment (GDA) exercise was launched by the UK's nuclear regulators, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency (EA), in 2007. The aim of the GDA is to allow the safety, security and environmental implications of new power station designs to be assessed before a site-specific construction application is made. Four designs were submitted for initial assessment: Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd's (AECL's) 1200 MWe ACR1000 pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR); Areva's 1600 MWe European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR); General Electric-Hitachi's (GEH's) 1550 MWe Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR); and, Westinghouse's 1100 MWe AP1000 PWR. In March 2008, the regulators announced that all four designs were approved to progress to the next stage of the process, although AECL subsequently pulled its ACR-1000 reactor out of the program to concentrate on opportunities in the Canadian market.


The GDA process is expected to take around 3 years to complete.