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GE Hitachi Makes Headway On SMR Design In The U.S.

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Feb 24, 2021
Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has made further progress on its work to license its small modular reactor design in the United States, according to a news release.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a Final Safety Evaluation Report (FSER) for the second of five licensing topical reports (LTRs) that have been submitted for the BWRX300 small modular reactor (SMR), officials said in the release. And on Feb. 3, the NRC Advisory Committee for Reactor Safeguards approved a third LTR.

GE Hitachi leaders anticipate that an FSER will be issued for this third LTR in the coming weeks. Two additional reports were submitted in 2020 and are currently under review, officials said.

This is a significant step in the process to commercialize the SMR design in the U.S., according to the release.

The company expects these safety-related 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 that wishes to build and operate a BWRX-300.

GE Hitachi is also pursuing similar measures for its BWRX-300 model in other countries, including Canada, Estonia and Poland. 

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe (megawatt electric) water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems. It utilizes the design and licensing basis of the company's NRC-certified Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR).

“These licensing topical reports address the most significant innovative design features of the BWRX300 SMR,” Jon Ball, executive vice president of Nuclear Products for GE Hitachi, said in the release about the work in the U.S. “This licensing effort further advances the commercialization of the BWRX-300 as we work to make the first grid-scale SMR operational later this decade.”
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