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Babcock & Wilcox Pressurized Water Reactors

Gary W Castleberry, PE

Course Outline

This course provides an overview of the reactor and major reactor support systems found in a Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Power Plant. Major systems associated with the reactor are discussed, such as, the reactor, steam generators, pressurizer, reactor coolant pumps, control rod drives, high pressure injection, residual heat removal system, reactor protection system, borated water system, and the letdown and make-up systems. In addition, the primary balance-of-plant (BOP) systems are discussed in terms of their system interface with the reactor.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the completion of this course the student should have an understanding of the following PWR systems in a Babcock &Wilcox plant:

Course Introduction

Utility owned and operated nuclear power plants have become a significant portion of the generation mix in the United States over the last thirty years. Although relatively expensive to build, compared to coal and oil power plants of the same vintage, nuclear plants have been very profitable to the utilities due to the low cost of fuel and the highly reliable operating record. There were primarily two different types of reactor designs used in the United States: the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), and the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) with the PWR being the predominant type. This course addresses PWR designs only. There were three major suppliers of PWR reactors, known in the industry as NSSS (Nuclear Steam Supply systems) manufacturers. These suppliers were Combustion Engineering, Westinghouse, and Babcock & Wilcox (B&W). Westinghouse produced the most plants in the United States. This course is based upon the B&W designed reactors.

Disclosure: Each and every reactor in the United States is uniquely different. Even "identical" units have differences in their designs and construction. The material presented here is generic in nature; that is, what is commonly found in most plants, or in plants using a particular reactor manufacturer. The purpose of this course is to impart to a non-nuclear engineer a technical overview of the basic reactor and reactor support systems encountered in the United States.

Course Content

The course content is in a PDF file Babcock & Wilcox Pressurized Water Reactors. You need to open or download above documents to study this course.

Course Summary

This course has provided an overview of the reactor and major reactor support systems for a Babcock & Wilcox Pressurized Water Reactor. Primary differences between the B&W design and other PWR designs have been highlighted. Lessons learned from the accident at Three Mile Island have been incorporated into the designs of B&W reactors and some of these were identified in this course.

Nuclear power continues to provide a critical portion of the electricity generated in the United States and will into the future as most utilities seek and obtain twenty year extensions to their operating licenses. As the uncertainty of future oil supplies plagues this country, nuclear power will continue to be the safe, clean, and reliable energy source of energy that it is today.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.