Canada’s Cameco, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas (GNF-A) on 7 July have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to explore several areas of cooperation to advance the commercialisation and deployment of BWRX-300 small modular reactors (SMRs) in Canada and around the world. The MOU is not exclusive and does not preclude GEH or Cameco from pursuing similar arrangements with other companies in the nuclear energy sector.
“Nuclear power will play a massive role in the global shift to zero-carbon energy, generating a lot of momentum for emerging SMR and advanced reactor technologies,” said Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel. “Cameco intends to be a go-to fuel supplier for these innovative reactors. We’re looking forward to working with GEH and GNF to see what opportunities might exist around their novel SMR design.”
“We are excited to explore opportunities with Cameco to advance the commercialisation of the BWRX-300,” said Jay Wileman, President and CEO, GEH. “As we work to bring the world’s first grid-scale SMR to Canada we will continue to identify strategic partners whose capabilities will support the deployment of this game-changing technology in Canada and worldwide.”
Lisa McBride, Canada SMR Country Leader for GEH noted: “BWR and Candu fuel types are closely related as both use similar cladding materials as well as ceramic, uranium dioxide fuel pellets so this type of collaboration offers the potential to extract significant synergies between the two fuel designs and manufacturing processes, enabling the expansion of Canada’s local fuel supply chain capabilities.”
The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US NRC-certified ESBWR. Through innovative design simplification, GEH expects that the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared with other SMR designs. By leveraging the existing ESBWR design certification, utilizing the licensed and proven GNF2 fuel design, and incorporating proven components and supply chain expertise, GEH believes the BWRX-300 can become the lowest-risk, most cost-competitive and quickest to market SMR.
An independent report by PwC Canada, commissioned by GEH, estimates that the construction and operation of the first BWRX-300 in Ontario is expected to generate approximately $2.3 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), $1.9 billion in labour income and more than $750 million in federal, provincial and municipal tax revenue over its lifespan. The report estimates that each subsequent BWRX-300 deployed in Ontario and other provinces is expected to further generate more than $1.1 billion in GDP and more than $300 million in tax revenue.
Photo: BWRX-300 (Credit: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)