Print
Technology

GE Hitachi Receives Federal Funds To Assess New Nuclear Technology

By Jenny Callison, posted Nov 6, 2014
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) will perform a comprehensive safety assessment of its PRISM sodium-cooled fast nuclear reactor, thanks to a multi-million-dollar federal investment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the company announced Thursday.
 
GEH officials are not sure yet of the exact amount of federal funds allocated to the project, company spokesman Jon Allen said Thursday.
 
This research investment by the DOE will enable Castle Hayne-based GEH to partner with the Argonne National Laboratory in developing up-to-date risk assessment methodologies for PRISM and then to perform the assessment, according to a news release from the company.
 
“It’s a regulatory requirement that we run a series of analyses that will demonstrate how PRISM’s safety systems are going to operate and interact in several different scenarios,” Allen said.
 
The technology on which PRISM is based was developed in the 1980s and, unlike other nuclear reactors, it can use spent nuclear fuel and surplus plutonium to generate electricity. Since the early 1990s, however, no risk assessments have been done on the technology.
 
“The new assessments will take advantage of advances in engineering knowledge and computer power,” Allen said.
 
PRISM is an “exciting technology” that has great promise because it can use other reactors’ waste, Jay Wileman, GEH senior vice president of nuclear plant products, said in the release. He added, “Updating the safety assessment of PRISM will be important in supporting licensing efforts worldwide.”
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not grant a license to build a PRISM reactor plant without a positive outcome from the risk assessment, Allen said.
 
Meanwhile, GEH officials see immediate potential for PRISM technology in the UK, which currently has the world’s greatest civilian stockpile of plutonium, Allen said. Development of PRISM reactors could use that plutonium, reducing the risk and the cost of storing such dangerous material, while at the same time generating electricity for general use.

Plutonium has a half-life period of 300,000 years, Allen said, while use of that plutonium as fuel for the PRISM reactor cuts that half-life period to 300 years. A half-life period is the time required for half of the unstable, radioactive atoms in an element to undergo radioactive decay.
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Chris coudriet headshot 300x300 10211545555

Investing In Early Childhood Education Creates Long-Term Benefits

Chris Coudriet - New Hanover County Government
Cd

Five Reasons Nearly Half Of New Hires Fail

Hoop Morgan - The Forté Institute, LLC
Stoyc 3 300x300

How Tax Reform Could Impact Home Ownership

Patrick Stoy - Market Consulting Mortgage

Trending News

Downtown Hilton Rebranding, Undergoing $8.5M Renovation

Cece Nunn - Nov 17, 2017

Feeding Frenzy

Allison Ballard - Nov 17, 2017

Shallotte Community To Feature Solar Energy, Clean Water Systems

Cece Nunn - Nov 17, 2017

Downtown Growing Into 24-Hour Hub

Christina Haley O'Neal - Nov 17, 2017

First-Time Homebuyers Face Challenges

Cece Nunn - Nov 17, 2017

In The Current Issue

New Brunswick Economic Development Group Meets

Brunswick County commissioners have approved a formal agreement between the county and a new private-public economic development organizatio...


Builder Aims To Create Apartment ‘Gems’

In a shady area surrounded by trees just off South 17th Street, builders found a real estate equivalent to a diamond in the rough. Plantatio...


Info Junkie: Joan Loch

Info Junkie Joah Loch, commercial broker with MoMentum companies, on her media and web picks....

Book On Business

The 2017 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

2017 Health Care Heroes
Major Developments
WilmingtonBiz Expo - Key Note Lunch with Keynote Lunch with Chip Mahan - 2016