An eVinci microreactor and surrounding infrastructure is about half the size of a hockey rink

Thursday, December 7th, 2023

The Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC) is poised to become Westinghouse’s first customer for its eVinci microreactor — a flagship 5-MWe/13-MWth “nuclear battery”:

At the heart of the eVinci is a fully passive heat pipe–cooled design that will use tristructural isotropic (TRISO) fuel. Its alkali metal heat pipe technology relies on alkali metal phase change to capture temperature uniformity within the reactor core. The reactor’s core, built around a solid steel monolith, has channels for both heat pipes and fuel pellets, with each fuel pin placed adjacent to several heat pipes. The array of closed heat pipes essentially removes heat from the nuclear core and transfers that heat to air, which then turns a turbine in an open-air Brayton thermodynamic power conversion cycle.

Along with providing redundancy of the primary heat removal path, the heat pipes eliminate the need for a reactor coolant pump, bulk coolant, and associated equipment, as well as enable a modular core design, Westinghouse President of eVinci Microreactor Jon Ball told POWER in October.

An eVinci microreactor and surrounding infrastructure is about “half the size of a hockey rink,” Westinghouse says. In addition, unlike a high-temperature gas reactor (HTGR), heat pipe reactors are not pressurized and have no moving parts, though they are passive (naturally driven) and can self-adjust to the amount of heat transferred—which allows inherent load following


  1. Bob Sykes says:

    The economies of scale dictate facility size. For every doubling of the size of any production facility, the cost of a unit of product is reduced by 20%. The cost of a kWh from an eVinci plant is likely to be an order of magnitude greater than a standard GW reactor.

    Microscale reactors, wind mills, water mills, a solar panels do have uses, especially for small, isolated demands. They are an appalling waste of resources for large, baseload demands.

  2. Jim says:

    Simplicity, redundancy, and ease of deployment have a quality all their own.

  3. Jim says:

    Furthermore, if a power plant costs less kWh to build than it generates over its operational life, it is an objective net addition to circulating kWh. Impliedly, the sovereign should build infinitely until the fiat-denominated price of electricity has fallen to “too cheap to meter”.

    It is impossible to adequately articulate just how completely this would transform the state that implements it first.

  4. TRX says:

    Sounds vaguely similar to the British Windscale reactor back in the 1950s.

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