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GE Hitachi Grows SMR Base In Canada

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jul 16, 2021
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is hiring and working to establish its base in Canada to further the development of its BWRX-300 SMR model (pictured above). (Photo courtesy of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)
Wilmington-headquartered GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is creating jobs in Canada to advance its small modular reactor technology globally. The company is now hiring both in Canada and in Wilmington, officials said this week.

GE Hitachi is hiring for more than 30 positions at the Wilmington headquarters, ranging from engineers to financial reporting analysts, according to its website.

GE Hitachi (GEH), is a joint venture between General Electric and Hitachi that provides advanced nuclear technology and nuclear services for the industry. The headquarters facility is located off Castle Hayne Road and shares the site with GE Aviation.

The company also announced this week 80 open positions in Ontario, where it has its Canada Small Modular Reactor (SMR) headquarters in Markham, Ontario to support the worldwide deployment of the GEH BWRX-300 SMR model, according to a news release.

Research and development for the GEH SMR technology is now taking place both at its Wilmington headquarters and in Canada, with engineers and other employees working collaboratively to help advance the BWRX-300 SMR model to reach commercialization, GEH spokesman Jon Allen said Friday.

The Canadian SMR base is a major step for the Wilmington headquartered company in extending business and solidifying its position in bringing SMR technologies to the world, officials said.

​According to the U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy advanced SMRs are nuclear reactors of varying sizes that can be used for power generation, possessing heat, desalination or other industrial uses.

GE Hitachi has been working with several countries and in the United States to advance technologies and licenses needed to bring its BWRX-300 model to commercialization and construction.

GEH’s BWRX-300 model, is a 300-megawatt electric (MWe) water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the designs and licensing basis of GEH’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, which is certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The company looks to also use its already licensed GNF2 fuel design and supply chain expertise with the deployment of the model, should it reach commercialization.

The GNF2 is fuel assembly is an advanced fuel technology developed and manufactured by Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF), a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi Ltd. and operates primarily through Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas LLC in Wilmington and Global Nuclear Fuel-Japan Co. Ltd. in Kurihama, Japan.

With the combination of these products and services, GEH “believes the BWRX-300 can become the lowest-risk, most cost-competitive and quickest to market SMR,” officials said in the release.

Last week, GEH announced another agreement with Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Cameco Corp., a large provider of uranium fuel and manufacturer of Canadian fuel assemblies and reactor components.

“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,” said Cameco president and CEO Tim Gitzel, in last week’s news release.

This collaboration would also help further fuel efforts and the worldwide commercialization of the BWRX-300 SMR model. The two companies are working toward commercialization efforts of the fuel technology to go along with the proposed design.

“With the announcement that we made the MOU last week with Cameco, we’re obviously continuing our efforts to advance our SMR technology,” Allen said. “Because of Canada and the SMR action plan that the country unveiled late last year, they have made clear that there is interest in small modular reactors there and they want to be a global leader in that kind of technology.”

Earlier this year, GEH formed a new business in Canada, GEH SMR Technologies Canada Ltd., to support the deployment of the BWRX-300 in Canada. GEH at the time named Lisa McBride its new Canada SMR country leader for the business based in Ontario.

“This is just the beginning of our projected growth, and we look forward to posting more jobs as we continue to build our SMR team,” McBride said in this week’s news release.

The most recent announcement of its SMR headquarters in Canada comes as GEH continues to pursue its licensing efforts through several different agreements out for its SMR technology in Canada, the United States, Poland, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

In recent years, GEH has been gaining traction to reach commercialization of its BWRX-300 design, and all of GEH’s agreements in the European countries remain in effect, Allen said.

The U.S. Department of Energy also announced last week $5.8 million in funding to develop three construction technologies that together can reduce the cost of new nuclear builds by more than 10 percent.

These construction technologies could potentially be used for SMRs, including GEH’s BWRX-300 model, Allen said Friday.

GEH is leading the a proposal team, which includes Black & Veatch, the Electric Power Research Institute, Purdue University, Caunton Engineering, Modular Walling Systems Limited, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
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