Small Modular Reactors

SMR Development / GEH Begins US Licensing Process For BWRX-300

By David Dalton
30 January 2020

Company says target is to deploy units as early as 2028
GEH Begins US Licensing Process For BWRX-300
US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy today announced it has officially begun the regulatory licensing process for its BWRX-300 small modular reactor, a “significant milestone” in potentially commercialising the technology as early as 2028.

GEH said it had submitted the first in a series of licensing topical reports, or LTRs, for the BWRX-300 to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. GEH said it expects such 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.

“Embarking on the US licensing process is a significant milestone in the commercialisation of the BWRX-300,” said Jon Ball, executive vice-president of nuclear products for GEH.

“The first licensing topical report was submitted to the NRC at end of 2019 as part of an aggressive timeline that we set for ourselves. As the global demand for carbon-free energy increases, we are seeing significant interest in this groundbreaking SMR technology and are excited about continuing to work toward US licensing.”

The BWRX-300 is a 300-MW water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that uses the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US NRC-certified ESBWR (Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor). GEH believes that through “dramatic design simplification” the BWRX-300 will require about 60% less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs. It is designed to reduce building volume over the ESBWR by about 50% per MW, which should account for 50% less concrete per MW.

The BWRX-300 will make use of the existing ESBWR design certification and licensed nuclear fuel designs, and will incorporate proven components and supply chains. GEH believes this will help make it cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas plants and renewable energy platforms.

The BWRX-300 is the 10th evolution of GE’s first boiling water reactor design and the company says it represents the simplest, yet most innovative BWR design since it began commercialising nuclear reactors in 1955.

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