(Bloomberg) -- New large-scale atomic power plants are still in demand in the US as utilities brace for growing calls to provide low-carbon energy generation, according to the head of nuclear-technology giant Westinghouse Electric Co.
New nuclear energy projects have been expanding in China, and are making a comeback in Europe, Canada and other regions as the technology is increasingly seen as an important part of the fight to curb climate change.
“There are some American utilities which are very seriously talking with us about new AP1000s,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Fragman said in an interview, referring to Westinghouse’s flagship 1.1-gigawatt reactor. He declined to name the interested companies.
Western countries had all but stopped building new plants over the past two decades amid ballooning costs and delays, a point underlined by the cancellation of a next-generation small modular reactor project in the US earlier this month.
Four of Westinghouse’s AP1000 units are functioning properly in China, and another six will be completed in that country by 2030, Fragman said Tuesday at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris. In the US, after years of delays and cost overruns, a Westinghouse unit is up and running at a plant in Georgia, with a second one set to come online there early next year, he said.
In a further sign of the AP1000’s reliability, Westinghouse won a contract to provide the reactors for Poland’s first nuclear plant, and is participating in a tender in the Czech Republic. It also sees prospects in other European countries, as well as Canada and Asia. Fragman reiterated Westinghouse’s interest in building large scale-reactors at the Wylfa site in the UK, while it’s also shortlisted alongside five others to develop small modular reactors in the country.
“Power is becoming the fuel of choice, and there’s a need for new capacities,” Fragman said.
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