US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and BWXT Canada Ltd have entered into a teaming agreement to cooperate on engineering and procurement to support the design, manufacturing and commercialisation of the BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR).
Through the agreement, if the BWRX-300 is selected for deployment at Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG’s) Darlington Nuclear Generation Station, BWXT Canada could provide detailed engineering and design for manufacturability for BWRX-300 equipment and components and ultimately could supply certain key reactor components for the deployment of the BWRX-300 in Canada. The agreement builds on a Memorandum of Understanding that GEH and BWXT Canada signed in June 2020.
“This agreement with BWXT Canada is a significant milestone in our efforts to build a Canadian supply chain to advance the deployment of the BWRX-300 in Ontario,” said Jay Wileman, President & CEO, GEH. “The ability of BWXT Canada to manufacture these key reactor components could help establish Ontario as a global manufacturing hub for our highly engineered equipment.”
“We are pleased GEH recognises that our unique engineering and manufacturing capabilities are readily adaptable to support deployment of the BWRX-300 in Canada,” said John MacQuarrie, president of BWXT Canada. “Entering into this relationship with GEH provides BWXT Canada with the opportunity to participate in the deployment of BWRX-300 SMRs around the world.”
The BWRX-300 is a 300MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s ESBWR which has US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification. As a result of design simplification, GEH claims the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW compared with other SMR designs. It is currently undergoing a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's pre-licensing Vendor Design Review.
By leveraging the existing ESBWR design certification, utilising 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.
In July, Cameco Corporation, GEH and Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas agreed to explore potential collaboration to advance the commercialisation and deployment of BWRX-300 SMRs in Canada and around the world.
The BWRX-300 is one of three SMR designs under consideration for deployment at Darlington. The others are Terrestrial Energy's Integrated Molten Salt Reactor and X-energy's Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor.
OPG has resumed planning activities for additional nuclear power generation based on an SMR at its Darlington New Nuclear site — the only site in Canada licensed for new nuclear with a completed and accepted environmental assessment. On 13 October OPG said the CNSC had decided to renew for ten years the existing Site Preparation Licence for the project. This will allow OPG to undertake preliminary work at the site such as excavation and grading, installation of services and utilities for future buildings, and construction of service buildings.
Photo: BWRX-300 (Credit: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)