Steel Bricks named as component for GE Hitachi’s ‘disruptive’ BWRX-300 small modular reactor

22 April 2021

The Steel Bricks™ modular construction system has been identified as a major component of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 Small Modular Reactor (SMR). In an online Facebook webinar broadcast, GE Hitachi’s Vice President and BWRX 300 Product Director, Brian Johnson, hailed Steel Bricks™ as a “second generation steel composite structure” with a “design expected to have no rebar in the nuclear island which, compared to existing nuclear plant design, dramatically reduces the amount of construction labour in the field.”  

Johnson was speaking to the Nuclear Alternative Project based in Puerto Rico and was keen to highlight the “disruptive” position of the BWRX-300’s in the SMR marketplace, offering a design strategy “centred on innovation balanced with practicality” offering a “cost-competitive and easily constructable solution”. He later recognised the “very simple fabrication process” provided by the Steel Bricks™ system, adding that the “amount of labour per volume for these Steel Bricks ™ structures is substantially lower than traditional frameworks with rebar tied in place and are a much simpler design from a manufacturability standpoint than traditional steel composite structures.” 

The Steel Bricks™ modular construction system has been developed by Modular Walling Systems (MWS) Ltd, based in Renfrewshire, Scotland and is fabricated in the UK by leading structural steelworks manufacturer Caunton Engineering. MWS is currently in detailed discussions with a number of global customers for a range of applications for the Steel Bricks™ system across the nuclear industry. 

Dr. Stewart Gallocher, founding director of Modular Walling Systems, believes the system’s unique design makes it ideal for SMR construction, a market estimated to be worth US $1.2 trillion globally. He says: “The Steel Bricks™ system is a ‘first of a kind’ concept in the fast-emerging world of steel composite construction. It provides not just the walls and suspended floors or roofs in steel composite but most importantly a basemat. This takes away the need for conventional foundations, eliminating the traditional Achilles Heel of this form of construction which are the weak points of the base mat to wall connection. 

“Many attempts have been made during the past 25 years to devise simple, safe and rapid fabrication methods to internally connect steel faceplates. But most have lacked commercial application due to being too expensive and labour intensive. We can now successfully deliver a solution which is technologically proficient whilst providing significant cost and time saving benefits. We believe that this technology, combined with the significant cost and time reductions of off-site manufacture, will now provide a major stimulus for the global roll out of Small Modular Reactors.”  

For more information and to view the GE Hitachi webinar, visit 

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