The US-based nuclear energy group Westinghouse Electric Company and Community Nuclear Power Limited (CNP) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of four 300 MW AP300 small modular reactors (SMRs) in the United Kingdom. The project aims to be generating clean energy by the early 2030’s in the North Teesside region of northeast England (UK), being the first privately funded project deploying SMRs anywhere in Europe.
The Westinghouse AP300 SMR is a single-loop pressurised water reactor based on the AP1000 technology. It expects to get design certification by 2027, with construction of a first unit beginning in 2030, with operation slated for 2033. The AP300 SMR is suited to support grid generation and to produce hydrogen, e-fuels, desalination, and district heating, contributing to support the development of a Green Energy and Chemical Hub on the North Tees Group Estate, with the ambition of producing power to liquids (e-fuels and e-chemicals).
The project is complementary and supportive of Westinghouse's participation in Great British Nuclear's (GBN's) SMR technology selection process. In October 2023, the UK selected six companies’ designs for the next generation of nuclear reactors to progress in the government’s competition supporting the development of this technology for greater energy security. Westinghouse Electric Company UK was one of the chosen companies for the next stage of the process, which should be launched in the spring 2024 and contracts being awarded in the summer of 2024. The UK government has plans to expand nuclear energy capacity to 24 GW by 2050.