GE Hitachi joins TerraPower to Support Versatile Test Reactor
23 Jan 2020 by NS Energy
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and TerraPower have announced a collaboration to pursue a Public-Private Partnership to design and construct the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The two companies recently submitted a joint response to an Expression of Interest issued by the Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) on behalf of the DOE which seeks stakeholders interested in forming a partnership for a cost-sharing arrangement to design and construct the VTR utilizing sodium fast reactor technology.
“This collaboration brings together a strong team of engineers and scientists which has considerable expertise in sodium reactor technology,” said Jay Wileman, President & CEO of GEH. “The combined team has complementary and unique experience with the credibility to lead the VTR design, procurement and construction effort. We are excited to work with TerraPower on such an important project.”
“To achieve nuclear energy’s full potential, business and government must work together to invest in both testing new materials and demonstrating advanced technologies,” said Chris Levesque, TerraPower CEO. “America’s nuclear workforce is ready to build next generation nuclear technology to deliver affordable, clean energy, and to reestablish American leadership in nuclear technology. The VTR offers a domestic platform for innovation that promotes American economic and national security.”
Energy Northwest, a utility consortium with nuclear power plant operating experience, will support the joint GEH-TerraPower effort. Additional companies and investors have expressed interest in being part of this effort and, if brought on board, will be named later.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy established the VTR program to introduce fast neutron spectrum technology that does not currently exist in the U.S. and to support accelerated development of nuclear fuels and materials for advanced reactors.
In November 2018, BEA selected GEH and its PRISM technology to support the VTR program. Since then GEH has been actively engaged in development of the VTR conceptual design. TerraPower has supported the VTR program by making enhancements to the VTR’s design and has invested ten years of sodium technology development into its traveling wave reactor.