Nuclear Power

10 May 2022

Tractebel to Conduct Nuward SMR Conceptual Design Studies

10 May 2022  by   
Tractebel is to contribute to the development of France's Nuward small modular reactor (SMR) project. The Belgian engineering firm will conduct studies for the completion of the conceptual design of "the first SMR in the European Union".

 A rendering of a Nuward SMR plant (Image: EDF)

The Nuward project was launched in September 2019 by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), EDF, Naval Group and TechnicAtome. The Nuward - consisting of a 340 MWe SMR plant with two pressurised water reactors (PWRs) of 170 MWe each - has been jointly developed using France's experience in PWRs. The CEA has contributed to the development of the Nuward design with its skills in research and qualification, while utility EDF has helped through its experience in systems integration and operation. Naval defence company Naval Group has contributed its structures and modular experience to the project, with TechnicAtome providing its compact reactor design experience.

Under a contract signed with Centre National d'Equipement de Production d'Electricité (CNEPE) - EDF's engineering centre located in Tours, France - Tractebel will conduct conceptual design studies for parts of the conventional island (turbine hall), the balance of plant (water intake and servicing system) and the 3-D modeling of the buildings housing these systems. The contract will run until October this year.

Tractebel experts will also manage interfaces with the different Nuward partners to ensure that the data received or provided are communicated clearly and in a timely fashion. They will also be responsible for the civil engineering preliminary studies and the evaluation of the costs related to the company's scope. In addition, and in conjunction with the other Nuward partners, Tractebel will draw up the site layout.

Tractebel noted that its engineers have already carried out technical and economic studies to confirm several design options.

"We are proud to take part in the development of one of the first SMR designs in Europe that will contribute to the EU's carbon-neutrality by 2050 objective," said Tractebel Project Manager Sébastien Pageaud. "The project requires diverse engineering skills (systems, civil, 3-D modeling, etc.) that we can provide to Nuward. Around 20 of our engineers are currently working on the project. We look forward to continuing to support EDF and its partners in delivering the Nuward project successfully."

The next phase of the project, the basic design completion, is expected to start in 2023. Tractebel said it is already mobilising its resources to support EDF during this new phase, especially in the fields of systems studies and civil and layout engineering, but also to conduct the electrical and safety/licensing studies.

The partners aim to complete the basic design of the Nuward between 2022 and 2025. The design should be in the "advanced concept phase" between 2025 and 2030, during which time the design is expected to be certified and the supply chain developed.

Construction of a demonstration Nuward SMR is expected to start in 2030. The construction of that unit is expected to take three years.


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