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MADE: GE's 50 Years In Wilmington

By Staff Reports, posted Apr 19, 2019
Photos courtesy of GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

GE HITACHI NUCLEAR ENERGY

3901 Castle Hayne Road, Wilmington  

 
No. of employees:
Approximate employment at the GE Wilmington site (including GE Aviation) is 2,800
 
Year founded:
GE’s work with nuclear power dates to the mid-1950s. In 1957, a GE boiling water reactor became the first privately owned and operated nuclear power plant to deliver significant quantities of electricity to a public utility grid.
 
Top local official(s):
Jay Wileman, president and CEO, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy; Amir Vexler, president and CEO, Global Nuclear Fuel
 
Company description:
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is a provider of advanced reactor technology and services. Global Nuclear Fuel, a GE-led joint venture with Hitachi Ltd., is a supplier of boiling water reactor fuel and fuel-related engineering services.
 
Products made locally:
Fuel and components for nuclear power plants. Fuel that is manufactured at the facility supports the operation of nuclear power plants in North America. Components that are manufactured here, including fuel assemblies, control rod blades and control rod drive systems, “help plants worldwide operate safely and efficiently. In 2015 GEH dedicated its new reactor under-vessel training area, a state-of-the-art, fullsize replica of the operating area underneath a boiling water nuclear reactor. Hundreds of highly skilled nuclear professionals receive advanced training at the facility each year to support outage services work at nuclear reactors around the world,” said Jon Allen, public relations manager.
 
What made the company decide to make its goods locally?  
Allen: “As GE’s nuclear operation grew in the 1960s, more than 100 communities were evaluated for factors that included business climate, training facilities, education system and a community that welcomed new industry. After Wilmington was selected, ground was broken in 1967 and operations began in 1969. In 2003 GE’s nuclear headquarters moved from San Jose, California, to Wilmington enabling the business to be physically located closer to its U.S. customer base and to increase efficiency of operations. The GE Hitachi joint venture was formed in 2007.”
 
What’s your target market?  
Allen: “Nuclear power plant operators in North America and across the world.”
 
What do you have planned next?  
Allen: “We will continue to innovate to create value for our customers who are providing homes and businesses with reliable, carbon-free energy. We are expanding our portfolio (to include decommissioning and servicing pressurized water reactors) and continuing to advance the development of new reactor technology that will be cost-competitive with gas and renewables.”
 
EDITOR’S NOTE: To be considered for the Greater Wilmington Business Journal’s MADE feature, contact [email protected].
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