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Canada invests £16m in shipping container-sized nuclear reactor

Professional Engineering

The Westinghouse eVinci micro-reactor is small enough to be transported in a shipping container (Credit: Westinghouse)
The Westinghouse eVinci micro-reactor is small enough to be transported in a shipping container (Credit: Westinghouse)

The Canadian government has invested C$27.2m (£16.4m) in the development of a portable nuclear reactor.

Small enough to fit in standard shipping containers and be transported by lorry, the eVinci micro-reactor is in development at US-headquartered Westinghouse.

Designed to bring carbon-free energy wherever it is needed, eVinci will provide combined heat and power of 1-5 MWe (million watts of electric capacity). Westinghouse said transportation, set-up and operation will take ‘a matter of days’ for each of the small modular reactors (SMRs).

The micro-reactor has a solid core and advanced heat pipes that enable passive core heat extraction, allowing autonomous operation. It has minimal moving parts, and is designed for 40 years of operation, with a refuelling interval of three years or more.

The investment is aimed at providing clean energy to off-grid sites and remote communities. Westinghouse said the micro-reactor could power industrial sites, mining operations, data centres, universities, marine propulsion, hydrogen generation, or water purification. It could work alongside other energy sources such as renewables, and could help reduce energy costs by limiting the need for permanent infrastructure.

“As our government moves swiftly with our green economic recovery, we are laying the foundation for a better-prepared and more prosperous climate-oriented future,” said innovation minister François-Philippe Champagne.

“Westinghouse’s innovative technology will help deliver cleaner energy sources across Canada, especially in remote communities. This investment will play a critical role in fighting climate change and build on Canada’s global leadership in SMRs, and securing jobs in Ontario’s energy sector.”

David Durham, president of Westinghouse Energy Systems, said: “The eVinci micro-reactor technology enables many applications which will benefit Canadian industries and communities, especially those in need of carbon-free heat and power.”

Westinghouse said the funding will help create and maintain ‘many’ new jobs, and partnerships with the nuclear supply chain and academic institutions. In 2019, the company targeted commercial deployment by 2025.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.


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