GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has completed its submittal of the design certification document for the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—a key milestone in deploying the new advanced nuclear reactor design. (Earlier post.)
The new reactor design offers numerous advanced safety features and cost-saving advantages. GEH believes the ESBWR’s features make it the most advanced reactor design in the world, including passive safety systems, a further simplified design and even higher safety margins than the already safe, deployed US fleet. With the submittal, GEH has provided detailed information for the NRC to proceed with evaluating the ESBWR design for certification.
Detroit Edison of Michigan and Dominion Energy of Virginia have submitted NRC license applications referencing the ESBWR. NuStart Energy, a US Department of Energy-supported consortium of US utilities, has selected the ESBWR to receive engineering, licensing and commercialization support through the NP 2010 Program.
By submitting a revised design certification document for the 1,520-MWe ESBWR on 31 Aug, GEH’s goal is to have the most complete portfolio of nuclear reactors certified by the NRC. Data from the NRC’s review will support GEH’s future project opportunities in Europe and other regions.
GEH’s portfolio of nuclear reactors also includes the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR), the world’s only Generation III reactor that has been certified in the United States and that has successful construction and operational experience. Four ABWRs are operating in Japan, and the global nuclear alliance of GE and Hitachi is building four more in Japan and Taiwan today.
The NRC certified GEH’s 1,350-MWe ABWR in 1997, and GEH has notified the NRC it intends to renew the ABWR design certification for an additional 15 years beyond 2012.
GEH is pursuing global deployment opportunities with both the ESBWR and ABWR. In India, GEH has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) covering resources in manufacturing and construction management for a potential multiple-unit project. The MOU is with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India, the country’s only nuclear utility, which operates 17 reactors.
ABWR and ESBWR reactors, compared to typical US electricity production, would avoid the annual emission of 6.7 million tons of CO2, equivalent to the annual emissions of about 1.3 million cars. The ABWR and ESBWR technologies are expected to have, respectively, up to 34 and 40% lower operating and maintenance costs per-kilowatt-hour than currently operating Generation I and II nuclear reactors in the United States. This is primarily because of their increased generating capacity, as well as increased capacity factor and systems simplifications.