Several major players in the field of small modular reactor (SMR) technology recently inked an agreement to collaborate to develop standard and detailed designs for the BWRX-300 reactor.
The companies involved in the technical agreement are global nuclear power tech firm GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG), Polish firm Synthos Green Energy (SGE), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of the United States.
The said agreement will entail a standard design for the reactor and detailed designs for specific components, including the reactor pressure vessel and internal mechanisms.
While each collaborator is slated to make an equal investment in the initiative, the total cost of the initiative is expected to run in the neighborhood of $400 million.
All the companies privy to the agreement will form a collective Design Center Working Group, which will ensure that the design developed can be deployed in more than one jurisdiction and, eventually, get the BWRX-300 design licensed and deployed in their respective nations of origin and elsewhere in the world.
To date, OPG has been preparing the Darlington New Nuclear Project site in Ontario for a BWRX-300 plant, which will be the first grid-scale SMR in North America. TVA is making similar preparations at the Clinch River site in Tennessee, while SGE teamed up with another Polish company, PKN Orlen, to begin the pre-licensing process in their home country for the SMR as well as the search for a viable site for it.
A Pioneering Initiative
SGE’s participation in this agreement marks the first time that a private Polish firm has chosen to invest in the development of nuclear energy solutions.
According to SGE chief executive Rafał Kasprów, GEH’s SMR technology is an ideal solution for decarbonizing power and heat generation in Poland. He also lauded GEH for a number of its zero-emission initiatives which are now ongoing in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Central Europe.
For his part, GEH president and chief executive Jay Wileman stated that he and his fellow collaborators need to get this particular initiative right. In doing so, they will provide viable proof that nuclear power is necessary for the global push to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2050. In this case, everything needs to be done on schedule, within the set budget, and the end product sold at a competitive cost.