GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has submitted its 300MW BWRX-300 small modular reactor to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for a pre-licensing vendor design review.

The vendor design review is an optional service provided by the CNSC to "provide early feedback to the reactor vendor during the design process with the objective of verifying, at a high level, whether a plant design meets Canadian nuclear regulatory requirements and expectations," GEH said in a statement.

The two-phase review will focus on identifying any issues that could become barriers in a licensing process for a new build project in Canada while assuring that a resolution path exists for any issues that might be identified.  The phase 1 review typically takes 12–18 months and phase 2  takes 24 months, according to CNSC.

GEH said the  BWRX-300 "leverages the design and licensing basis" of the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR). The ESBWR design was certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2014 but has not been built anywhere in the world.  

"As the tenth evolution of the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), the BWRX-300 represents the simplest, yet most innovative BWR design since GE began developing nuclear reactors in 1955," GEH said.

Through dramatic design simplifications, GEH expects the BWRX-300 will require up to 60% less capital cost per megawatt when compared to other water-cooled SMRs or existing large reactors.

"By leveraging the ESBWR design, utilising proven components and through simplification innovations, GEH believes that the BWRX-300 can become cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas and renewables," the statement said.

Photo: BWRX-300 design (Credit: GEH)