GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has announced that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a Final Safety Evaluation Report for the first of several licensing topical reports (LTRs) that have been submitted for the BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR). The LTR, which was submitted to the NRC in December 2019, forms the basis for the dramatic simplification of the BWRX-300.
"Obtaining NRC approval of the specific innovations that simplify the BWRX-300 design is a major milestone in our efforts to license this game-changing technology," said Jay Wileman, President and CEO, GEH.
"The BWRX-300 will leverage much of the existing licensing basis of the NRC-certified ESBWR and this LTR will accelerate our commercialization efforts as we remain laser focused on making the first SMR operational later this decade."
Two additional LTRs were submitted in early 2020 and GEH anticipates the review of these LTRs will be completed in the coming months. A fourth LTR was submitted in September 2020. GEH expects such 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.
The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH's U.S. NRC-certified ESBWR. Through dramatic design simplification, GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.
By leveraging the existing ESBWR design certification, utilizing licensed and proven nuclear fuel designs, incorporating proven components and supply chains and implementing simplification innovations the BWRX-300 can, GEH believes, become cost-competitive with other forms of generation.
As the tenth evolution of GE's first Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) design, GEH's BWRX-300 represents the simplest, yet most innovative BWR design since GE began commercializing nuclear reactors in 1955