Small Modular Reactors

US / GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 SMR Achieves Licensing Milestone

By David Dalton
1 December 2020

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy BWRX-300 SMR Achieves Licensing Milestone
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final safety evaluation report for the first of several licensing topical reports (LTRs) that have been submitted by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy for the BWRX-300 small modular reactor, the US-based company announced on Tuesday.

The LTR, which was submitted to the NRC in December 2019, forms the basis for the dramatic simplification of the BWRX-300, a statement said. Topical reports deal with a specific, safety-related subject and are designed to minimise the time and resources that both industry and NRC staff expend on multiple reviews of the same topic.

“Obtaining NRC approval of the specific innovations that simplify the BWRX-300 design is a major milestone in our efforts to license this game-changing technology,” said Jay Wileman, president and chief executive officer of GEH. “The BWRX-300 will leverage much of the existing licensing basis of the NRC-certified ESBWR [Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor] and this LTR will accelerate our commercialisation efforts as we remain focused on making the first SMR operational later this decade.”

Two additional LTRs were submitted in early 2020 and GEH anticipates the review of these LTRs will be completed in the coming months. A fourth LTR was submitted in September 2020. GEH said it expects the LTRs to serve as a foundation for the development of a preliminary safety analysis report that could potentially be submitted to the NRC by a utility customer.

The BWRX-300 is a 300-MW water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems. GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.

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