GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), SNC-Lavalin and Aecon have signed a contract for the deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) at OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project site. This is the first commercial contract for a grid-scale SMR in North America.
The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation Small Modular Reactor (SMR) with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US NRC-certified ESBWR. As the tenth evolution of the Boiling Water Reactor (BWR), the BWRX-300 represents the simplest, yet most innovative BWR design since GE began developing nuclear reactors in 1955.
BWRX-300 small modular reactor
This contract is an important milestone and solidifies our position as the leading SMR technology provider. We aim to deliver the first SMR in North America and, in doing so, lead the start of a new era of nuclear power that will provide zero-emission energy generation, energy security and energy reliability around the globe. We can’t express our appreciation enough for the leadership role that OPG and the Province of Ontario are taking for a project that will benefit Ontario, Canada and the world.—GEH President and CEO Jay Wileman
The multi-party agreement, through which GEH is to provide the reactor design, covers a range of project activities including design, engineering licensing support, construction, testing, training and commissioning.
In August 2022, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) began planning and preliminary licensing for potential deployment of a BWRX-300 at the Clinch River Site near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. TVA has entered into a collaboration with OPG to coordinate efforts to move SMR technology forward. In addition, the NRC and CNSC are collaborating on licensing the two projects.
In June 2022, SaskPower announced that it selected the BWRX-300 for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s. In Poland, ORLEN Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) and its partners started the pre-licensing process by submitting an application to Poland’s National Atomic Energy Agency for assessment of the BWRX-300. OSGE plans to deploy a fleet of BWRX-300s with the potential for deployment of the first of those units by the end of this decade. To support the global deployment of the BWRX-300, GEH has memoranda of understanding or other agreements in place with companies in Canada, Poland, UK, US and Sweden among others. GEH has also begun the licensing process for the BWRX-300 in the UK.
Advanced nuclear technologies such as the BWRX-300 are a key pillar of GEH’s energy transition leadership. In addition to helping customers achieve decarbonization goals, the BWRX-300 is designed to reduce construction and operating costs below other nuclear power generation technologies. Specifically, the BWRX-300 leverages a combination of existing fuel that is currently used in operating reactors (and does not require HALEU), plant simplifications, proven components and a design based on already licensed reactor technology.