Licensing milestone for BWRX-300 SMR

3 December 2020

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced on 1 December that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had issued a Final Safety Evaluation Report for the first of several licensing topical reports (LTRs) that have been submitted for the BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR).

The LTR, which was submitted to the NRC in December 2019, forms the basis for the dramatic simplification of the BWRX-300.

“Obtaining NRC approval of the specific innovations that simplify the BWRX-300 design is a major milestone in our efforts to license this game-changing technology,” said Jay Wileman, GEH Ppresident and CEO. “The BWRX-300 will leverage much of the existing licensing basis of the NRC-certified ESBWR and this LTR will accelerate our commercialisation efforts as we remain laser focused on making the first SMR operational later this decade.”

Two additional LTRs were submitted in early 2020 and GEH anticipates the review of these will be completed in the coming months. A fourth LTR was submitted in September 2020. GEH expects such LTRs to serve as a foundation for the development of a Preliminary Safety Analysis Report that could potentially be submitted to the NRC by a utility customer.

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 NRC-certified ESBWR. Through design simplification, GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per megawatt compared with other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.

GEH believes that leveraging existing ESBWR design certification, utilising licensed and proven nuclear fuel designs, incorporating proven components and supply chains, and implementing simplification innovations will make the BWRX-300 cost-competitive with other forms of generation.

Photo: BWRX-300 reactor (Credit: GEH)

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