Cranberry Township, PA – June 7, 2018 – Westinghouse Electric Company announced today that it was awarded $5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The funding will be used to develop a self-regulating solid core block (SCB) that employs solid materials (instead of bulk liquid flow or moving parts) to inherently self-regulate the reaction rate in a nuclear reactor. The development of the SCB is a key component of Westinghouse’s eVinciTM micro reactor concept – a next-generation, very small modular reactor for decentralized generation markets.
“It is very exciting to be chosen as part of this new program,” said Ken Canavan, Westinghouse’s chief technology officer. “DOE funding for these projects is essential to developing game-changing, next-generation technologies to generate environmentally sound energy that also addresses shifting global market needs.”
The small size of the eVinci generator, under 15 megawatts-electric, allows for easier transportation and rapid, on-site installation in contrast to large, centralized stations. The micro reactor is designed to run for up to 10 years, eliminating the need for frequent refueling. The nature of the Westinghouse design will allow the reactor to operate and achieve safe shutdown without the need for additional controls, external power source or operator intervention, enabling highly autonomous operation. As part of this project, the team will conduct modeling and simulation to demonstrate the SCB’s self-regulating ability, with additional testing to validate modeling and simulation tools, and confirm manufacturability.
Westinghouse received this competitive award from ARPA-E’s Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER) program, in which teams develop innovative technologies that enable designs for lower cost, safer, advanced nuclear reactors. Today’s nuclear plants face comparatively high operational and maintenance costs. MEITNER projects will leverage design, new manufacturing processes, and technologies to lower costs and increase the competitiveness of nuclear power.
For additional information about Westinghouse and this project, please visit http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/New-Plants/eVinci-Micro-Reactor.