Westinghouse Announces Mini-Nuclear Reactor

Rita Baranwal, the top technology officer at Westinghouse Electricity Co., announced that the company has developed a mini-nuclear reactor, named AP300 for its planned 300-megawatt capacity.

U.S. company Westinghouse unveiled plans on Thursday for a small modular reactor to generate virtually emissions-free electricity that could replace coal plants or power water desalinization and other industries.

Rita Baranwal, the Westinghouse Electricity Co’s top technology officer, said the reactor, dubbed AP300 for its planned 300 Megawatt capacity, will not use special fuels or liquid metal coolants unlike some other next-generation reactors.

It will be a smaller version of its AP1000 reactor, several of which are operating in China, and which are ramping up in Georgia at the Vogtle plant, after years of delay and billions of dollars over budget.

Despite hurdles for new nuclear, Baranwal was confident. “We’ve kept it simple, designed it on demonstrated and licensed technology, and I think that’s one of the advantages that we have with this concept,” she told Reuters in an interview. Westinghouse, owned by Brookfield Business Partners, plans to start constructing the reactor by 2030 and have it running by 2033.

Small modular reactors (SMR) are meant to fit new applications such as replacing shut coal plants and being located in more remote communities. President Joe Biden’s administration believes that maintaining existing nuclear plants and developing next-generation reactors is crucial for its goal of decarbonizing the economy by 2050.

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