Westinghouse Electric Company last week signed a multi-year master research and collaboration agreement with Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, home to Missouri’s first nuclear reactor, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Westinghouse Electric Company last week signed a multi-year master research and collaboration agreement with Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, home to Missouri’s first nuclear reactor, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The agreement will support the development of multiple cutting-edge research projects at the institutions that will benefit the Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor (SMR) project and the nuclear energy industry as a whole, according to a press release from Westinghouse.

“We’re very pleased to be a part of this important collaboration,” Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader stated in the news release. “With research capabilities in nuclear, civil, electrical and chemical engineering, as well as materials science and engineering, Missouri S&T is well positioned to provide a broad range of engineering and science expertise to this effort.

“We look forward to working with Westinghouse, Ameren and MU to address one of our nation’s most pressing energy challenges,” Schrader added.

Ameren Missouri is the operating license partner in the Westinghouse application to secure Department of Energy (DOE) SMR investment funds, which are part of a DOE initiative focused on the completion of design certification and licensing activities for safe, secure and economical SMR projects.

The 50-50 cost-share agreement between the DOE and private industry is planned to span a five-year period, and the funds available will be subject to Congressional appropriations.

A total investment by the DOE of $452 million has been allocated for its SMR program, and private industry must match the government funding it receives.

According to Andy Careaga, Missouri S&T director of communications, the Rolla and Columbia campuses and the UM system “now have a formal agreement in place that states that we will bring our breadth of engineering and science and expertise to work with Westinghouse. Our campus and the Columbia campus will be partners working on their (Westinghouse) quest to receive funds and develop this technology.”

When Dr. Arvind Kumar, professor and chair of nuclear engineering at Missouri S&T, spoke to The Rolla Daily News in July, he said Missouri S&T will “look at the operations of different parts (of the SMR) and make sure it all works together and that nothing will go wrong,” he said. “It needs to be researched and tested before the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) will give its blessing to license it.”

Both faculty and staff will be involved in analyzing the heating and cooling systems as well as conducting stress analysis, thermal analysis, mechanical analysis and nuclear fuel site analysis, Kumar said.

Representatives from Ameren Missouri and Westinghouse Electric visited the Missouri S&T campus June 5, 2012, to talk about small modular reactors.

The Westinghouse SMR, which can generate 225 megawatts of electrical output or less than one-fourth the energy generated by a traditional nuclear reactor, is an integral pressurized water reactor with all primary components located inside of the reactor vessel.

The Westinghouse design puts the pressurizer, steam generator, reactor coolant pumps, reactor vessel internals and reactor core all in one enclosed unit.

The small modular units are one-sixth or one-fifth the size of traditional commercial nuclear reactors, Kumar said.

According to the press release from Westinghouse, the company’s technology is the basis for approximately one-half of the world's operating nuclear power plants.