EDF and Westinghouse in talks to develop SMR nuclear reactor

EDF and Westinghouse in talks to develop SMR nuclear reactor

PARIS — French state-controlled utility EDF and French nuclear state agency CEA are in talks with U.S. nuclear reactor builder Westinghouse to develop a Small Modular Reactor (SMR), a group of French companies involved in the project said on Tuesday.

The CEA, EDF, defense firm Naval Group and nuclear propulsion specialist TechnicAtome said in a joint statement that their jointly developed “Nuward” SMR project aims to build a 300-400 megawatt (MW) pressurized water reactor by the late 2020s and that it is open to international cooperation.

“In that spirit, CEA and EDF have initiated discussions with Westinghouse Electric Company to explore potential cooperation on small modular reactor development,” the group said.

EDF and Westinghouse are looking at SMRs as a way of standardizing reactor construction after struggling with years of delay and billions of dollars of cost overruns on their big nuclear reactors, which have capacities upwards of 1,000 MW.

SMRs could be built in a factory rather than on site, which could eliminate some of the construction problems that have haunted nuclear newbuild sites in recent years.

Reactor makers also say that SMRs can be a way to bring energy to remote off-grid areas such as mines or islands.

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