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GE Hitachi Selected by U.S. DOE to Lead Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Project

 

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GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to lead a team of industry experts for an advanced nuclear technology development project.

The project will bring together a team consisting of Exelon Generation, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy (HGNE), Bechtel and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to examine ways to simplify the reactor design, reduce plant construction costs, and lower operations and maintenance costs for the GEH BWRX-300, a 300 MWe small modular reactor.

"We are excited to announce our continued industry collaboration to develop the BWRX-300, a potentially game changing technology," said Jon Ball, Executive Vice President of Nuclear Plant Projects for GEH. "We have assembled a strong team of experts in nuclear plant design, construction methods and plant operations, with the goal of developing a clean energy solution that is cost-competitive with combined cycle gas generation and renewables."

The project will receive more than $1.9 million in DOE funding, part of a nearly $20 million investment in advanced nuclear technology announced by DOE.

"Exelon is pleased to collaborate with this team of leading companies and thought leaders focused on innovation and sees promise in advanced nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors like the BWRX-300, which are efficient and economical," said Marilyn Kray, vice president of nuclear technology and strategy for Exelon Generation. "Our participation in the BWRX-300 effort affirms our commitment to a strong and successful future for customers who expect clean forms of energy. As the nation's largest source of zero-emission energy, nuclear is critical to achieving the clean energy goals of our customers and communities, and must continue to be part of the U.S. energy mix."

"The BWRX-300 is the ultimate simplification of the boiling water reactor which already had the intrinsic advantage of the direct steam cycle," said Masahito Yoshimura, Senior Vice President of Global Business Development & Management Division for HGNE. "We will contribute to this exciting project by bringing our advanced manufacturing and construction expertise, instrumental in completing our Japanese NPP projects on schedule and on budget, as well as our recently enhanced engineering capabilities developed for our UK ABWR project."

"We're excited to participate in this effort to study ways to efficiently build new plants utilizing SMRs," said Mike Robinson, operations manager of Bechtel's nuclear power group. "We'll look at ways to bring innovation and modular technology to the project with the goal of optimizing cost and schedule, which are key factors for companies and utilities examining SMRs."

"It's an imperative of the nuclear industry to reduce the cost of deploying new plants," said Dr. Jacopo Buongiorno, TEPCO Professor and Associate Department Head, Nuclear Science and Engineering, MIT. "In this project Professor Franz-Josef Ulm from MIT's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and I will work with GE Hitachi to design a new small modular nuclear reactor that adopts advanced concrete solutions and innovative construction techniques, which are expected to drastically cut its cost and schedule, and make it competitive with natural gas combined cycle power plants."

These technologies are anticipated to be incorporated into the BWRX-300, which leverages the design and licensing basis of the NRC-certified ESBWR. Through dramatic design simplification, GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require up to 60 percent less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMRs or existing large nuclear designs. If these savings can be achieved, the BWRX-300 can become cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas and renewables.

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