Westinghouse and Prodigy collaborate on floating nuclear plant

24 January 2024

The aim is for a first project in Canada by 2030 for a Prodigy marine-based transportable nuclear power plant (TNPP) featuring Westinghouse eVinci microreactors.

How a Prodigy Microreactor Power Station might look (Image: Westinghouse)

In a blog post, Westinghouse said the two companies had been collaborating since 2019 to evaluate deployment models for the eVinci microreactor. It said a "multinational corporation operating strategic critical minerals assets in Canada" had funded a study in 2019-2020 to identify reliable clean energy sources which led Prodigy to "pioneer the development of TNPP civil structures standardised for deployment at a wide range of sites".

The eVinci microreactor is described as a "small battery" for decentralised generation markets and for microgrids, such as remote communities, remote industrial mines and critical infrastructure. The nominal 5 MWe heat pipe reactor, which has a heat capability of 14 MWt, features a design that Westinghouse says provides competitive and resilient power as well as superior reliability with minimal maintenance. The Prodigy Microreactor Power Station can integrate a single or multiple eVinci microreactors, would be prefabricated and transported to a site for installation at the shoreline or on land.

The two companies signed an agreement in 2022, and with conceptual engineering and regulatory studies completed the next steps include "completing the TNPP design for the eVinci microreactor, completing development of a nuclear oversight model for TNPP manufacturing, outfitting and transport, and progressing licensing and site assessments to support a first project in Canada by 2030".

Jon Ball, eVinci Technologies President for Westinghouse, said: "From the start, our eVinci technology was designed to be transportable, that was a key design principle. So, we designed it to be small, we made it plug-and-play, and we made it deliverable to anywhere. The TNPP from Prodigy brings an additional value to the inherent transportability of the technology."

Mathias Trojer, president and CEO of Prodigy Clean Energy, said: "The eVinci microreactor’s compact design and simplified operating requirements make it optimal for integration into a Prodigy TNPP. Our technology will enable fleet deployment of the eVinci, accelerating the timeline to deliver clean, reliable and affordable power at commercial scale to remote regions."

As well as a microreactor power station, Prodigy is also developing a larger version, a small modular reactor (SMR) power plant, deployable at the shoreline "ideal for coal replacement and grid-scale power generation". In October 2022, it unveiled a conceptual design for an SMR Marine Power Station, developed with NuScale, which could house between one and twelve NuScale Power Modules.

Prodigy says that with both TNPPs it packages the microreactors or SMR into the prefabricated and relocatable power plant structures and transports them to their site, and removes them at the end of life after 60 years, so "simplify the full facility lifecycle, dramatically reducing new build costs and complexity".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News