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GE Hitachi to bring clean energy to Canada

SMR to provide environmental, economic benefits for decades Metal Tech News - December 8, 2021


Last updated 12/14/2021 at 12:28pm

GE Hitachi small modular reactor SMR nuclear power plant

General Electric

A 3D rendition of the BWRX-300 facility to be built in Ontario.

Selected as the technology partner for the Darlington nuclear project, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy will work with Ontario Power Generation to deploy a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Darlington site on the north shore of Lake Ontario in Clarington.

"We are thrilled to be selected by OPG as a technology partner," said GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy President and CEO Jay Wileman. "OPG is Ontario's climate change leader and is positioned to become a world leader in SMRs. Together, this partnership will bring jobs and economic benefits to Durham Region, Ontario, and Canada, and potential global export of this technology."

Advanced nuclear technologies like the BWRX-300 are a key pillar of GE's energy transition leadership. Emitting no carbon during operation and designed to achieve construction and operating costs substantially lower than traditional nuclear power generation technologies, the BWRX-300 is the latest trend of innovative "tiny" reactors to subset risks.

Specifically, the BWRX-300 leverages a new, patented safety breakthrough; proven components; a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission-certified economic simplified boiling water reactor; and an existing, licensed fuel design. This unique combination positions GE Hitachi to deliver an innovative, carbon-free baseload power generation source as early as 2028.

"We know nuclear is a key proven zero emissions baseload energy source that will help us achieve net zero as a company by 2040, and act as a catalyst for efficient economy-wide decarbonization by 2050," said Ken Hartwick, president and CEO of Ontario Power Generation. "By moving forward, with our industry-leading technology partner GE Hitachi, on deployment of innovative technology for an SMR at Darlington, OPG is paving the way on the development and deployment of the next generation of nuclear power in Canada and beyond."

The tenth evolution of GE's boiling water reactor represents the simplest and most innovative BWR design since GE began developing nuclear reactors in 1955.

Based on the NRC-licensed, 1,520-megawatt electrical ESBWR, the BWRX-300 is designed to provide clean, flexible baseload electricity generation that is competitively priced and estimated to have the lifecycle costs of typical natural gas combined-cycle plants targeting $2,250 per kilowatt for NOAK (nth of a kind) implementations.

Notably, this innovative SMR is designed to reduce building volume by about 50% per megawatt of capacity, which should account for 50% less concrete per MW. In addition, the 1,520 MWe ESBWR has approximately 160,000 cubic meters of safety-related concrete, while the BWRX-300 only requires 15,500 cubic meters.

Furthermore, as a "smart reactor," the BWRX-300 uses natural circulation and passive cooling isolation condenser systems to promote simple and safe operating rhythms.

GE's reactor sets itself apart in the global race for low-carbon nuclear power generation with its proven and less complicated processes.

Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith believes nuclear technology such as SMR is essential for the province to reach net-zero carbon emissions.

"We can be the global leader when it comes to this emission-reducing technology that's going to help others do what Ontario has done and get off coal and reduce emissions in their energy sector," he said.

GE Hitachi small modular reactor SMR nuclear power plant

General Electric

A 3D rendition showing a cutaway example of the future Boiling Water Reactor X (tenth version)-300.

In addition to climate benefits, GE's partnership with OPG has the potential to bring substantial economic opportunity to Ontario and Canada, currently creating 80 highly skilled jobs to support the deployment of the BWRX-300 in Canada.

"We plan to continue to create many skilled, high-paying jobs in Ontario as we build our BWRX-400 team," said Lisa McBride, county leader, GE Hitachi SMR Canada.

Finally, in an independent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada, commissioned by GE Hitachi, it has been estimated that the construction and operation of the first BWRX-300 in Ontario will generate approximately C$2.3 billion in gross domestic product, C$1.9 billion in labor income, and more than C$750 million in federal, provincial, and municipal tax revenue over its lifespan.


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