Mining Weekly Online published a story on October 27, 2006 titled US group plans to market SA pebble-bed modular reactor that describes Westinghouse’s current plans for marketing three different reactor designs that are each aimed at different markets.
The most commonly known product is the AP-1000, the large, pressurized water reactor with passive safety features that is already certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) is the 165 MWe direct cycle helium cooled gas turbine project that is underway in South Africa. That design is very close to achieving a final license in South Africa, there are already parts being manufactured, and the first unit is scheduled to be operational by 2010. The South African utility, Eskom, has indicated that it will purchase about 30 of the units. That agreement, of course, is subject to the operational and economic information gained from the demonstration and test unit.
Westinghouse – which is now a unit of Toshiba – holds a 15% interest in the project and is deeply involved in the design of the electrical power production portion of the system. According to Dr. Regis Matzie, Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Westinghouse Electric Company, Westinghouse expects that the PBMR will be ready for international commercial markets by “the middle of the next decade.”
The final design mentioned in the article is the International Reactor: Innovative and Secure (IRIS) that is not yet a demonstration project. That plant is part of the US Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program and involves the cooperation of 21 separate organizations including US universities, US national laboratories and many international partners. The main design features of the IRIS are light water coolant, modules ranging in size from 100-300 MWe, and an integral coolant system with pumps, heat exchangers and other components all contained within the pressure vessel.