Westinghouse is set to deploy the UK's first privately funded fleet of small modular nuclear reactors in a deal with Community Nuclear Power Ltd., the country's only independent developer of the advanced nuclear power technology

The agreement is for developing four SMRs in northeast England using the Westinghouse AP300 design. Jacobs Solutions will develop the license for the project by 2027 with commercial operation expectd in the early 2030s. Community Nuclear Power also is working with financial advisor Interpath Advisory. 

No financial terms for the agreement were disclosed.

At completion, projects would also be Britain's first deployment of next-generation nuclear technology, the first construction of the AP300 design and the first privately-funded SMR deployment in Europe, said Community Nuclear Power.

“The component parts and agreements needed to make this groundbreaking proposition happen—land, capability, technology, private capital funding, and community demand—are in place,” the company said in an online post.

“The project brings together Westinghouse’s proven technology and mature supply chain with our depth of expertise in nuclear program delivery in a region that is transforming its industrial landscape.” said Paul Foster, Community Nuclear Power CEO.

Design Gets Government Review  

Westinghouse also this week said it formally submitted an application to UK government regulators to begin an overall assessment of the AP300 design, the first step in formal licensing process within the UK. 

The U.S.-based manufacturer unveiled the design last year, which uses its existing Generation III+ advanced technology that already has regulatory approval in the UK, U.S. and China, and meets European standards for nuclear power plants. The AP300 is based on the Westinghouse AP1000 large reactor technology in operation globally. It uses engineering, components and a supply chain from the larger plant that would streamline licensing and substantially reduce project delivery risk, Westinghouse said.

The AP300 was one of six designs selected to progress in the UK’s competition to support development of small modular reactors to revive nuclear power in the country.

Designs proposed by France-based EDF, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy International LLC, Holtec Britain Ltd., NuScale Power and Rolls Royce SMR also were chosen for the next stage of the competition. The government said the companies will soon be invited to submit formal offers. 

The EDF/AREVA UK EPR, Westinghouse AP1000, Hitachi-GE UK ABWR and CGN/EDF/GNI UK HPR1000 design reviews have already been completed. One is ongoing for the Rolls-Royce SMR design, and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy in January said its BWRX-300 SMR design will soon enter the process.

UK Releases Nuclear Roadmap 

The project is fully aligned with the government roadmap released Jan. 11 to develop 24 GW of SMR generation by 2050, Community Nuclear said. The U.K. also is exploring construction of another large 3.2-GW nuclear plant and will invest nearly $380 million to produce HALEU uranium fuel to power new nuclear reactors beginning early in the 2030s. Currently the fuel is only produced commercially in Russia. 

“We're making the biggest investment in domestic nuclear energy in 70 years. From large gigawatt projects to small modular reactors, the UK's wider nuclear revival will quadruple our nuclear capacity by 2050,” said Claire Coutinho, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero.  

The government also outlined a new approach to siting future nuclear power stations and another encouraging private investment in advanced nuclear projects on sites other than those designated by the government. 

“Our plans will give investors the confidence to back new UK projects, with a simpler process and clear support for private sector companies developing innovative new technologies,” Nuclear Minister Andrew Bowie said.

The Community Nuclear project is located on a specialized site that supports development of a green energy and chemical hub to produce e-fuels and e-chemicals, which are produced from renewable energy sources.