US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Advanced Reactor Concepts (ARC Nuclear) on 28 August announced steps to advance their collaboration to develop and license the ARC-100 advanced small modular reactor (aSMR).
Through a newly-signed Development Agreement, GEH intends to license intellectual property associated with its PRISM advanced reactor design to ARC Nuclear. GEH, a joint venture 60% owned by GE and 40% by Japan's Hitachi, has also agreed to give ARC Nuclear access to nuclear infrastructure programmes related to quality, safety culture, training, processes, procedures and tools. In addition, GEH will make an in-kind contribution to ARC Nuclear through its agreement to provide engineering and design expertise.
The companies announced a collaboration in March 2017 to progress the ARC-100 design for global power generation with initial deployment in Canada. GEH and ARC Nuclear are working to commence a preliminary regulatory review of the ARC-100 by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission through its Vendor Design Review process. At the same time, a joint GEH-ARC Nuclear engineering team is working to advance the ARC-100 design.
Don Wolf, Chairman and CEO, ARC Nuclear said work to date with the GEH team “has validated our expectation of the synergy of combining ARC Nuclear’s senior engineers — with their deep sodium fast reactor operational and design experience as key members of EBR-II prototype program — with GEH’s next generation of nuclear engineers and designers with their proven competence in modern nuclear design”. He added that this engineering collaboration and GEH’s infrastructure “can give us a leap forward in reducing both time to market and development costs”.
The new agreement “recognises that GEH and ARC Nuclear each have significant experience, investment and intellectual property in sodium fast reactor technology derived from Argonne National Laboratory’s successful EBR-II reactor which operated for more than 30 years at Idaho Falls, Idaho,” said Jon Ball, Executive Vice President, Nuclear Plant Projects, GEH. ARC Nuclear and GEH have agreed to re-examine their relationship upon completion of the Canadian Vendor Design Review and give consideration to focus for the ARC-100 beyond Canada.