BWXT To Start SMR Engineering For Manufacturing Phase

Next generation reactor developer NuScale Power said Tuesday that it had chosen Virginia-based BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT) to start the engineering work to manufacture the company's NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) after a rigorous selection process that included interest from 83 companies from 10 different countries.

NuScale technologyNuScale’s choice reflected the need to design a reactor for manufacturability, assembly, and transportability – essentially creating a repeatable process such as one might expect from an assembly line, a pioneering approach to nuclear reactor development for commercial power generation.

NuScale’s design is the world’s first and, so far, the only SMR to undergo Design Certification review by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. As such, it is considered the country’s frontrunner to compete in the global SMR race, which has become a global competition. Nuscale noted that the Nuclear Energy Agency estimates the approaching SMR market to be an industry worth more than $100 billion by 2035.

NuScale President and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins said "BWXT’s established industry experience was important for us, and so was choosing an American company.”

Hopkins  Officer predicted NuScale technology "will bring immense economic prosperity for people here at home, while improving the quality of life for those all across the world by providing resilient, carbon-free electricity.”

BWXT is contracted to start work immediately on this first manufacturing phase of NuScale’s SMR, a task that is expected to continue through June 2020. NuScale will contract for the remaining two phases, preparation for fabrication then fabrication, at a later date, the company said.

BWXT expects to use Pennsylvania-based Precision Custom Components as a component manufacturing contractor on this project.

“Innovation is a core value at BWXT, and that’s why we are incredibly proud to be selected as a manufacturer for NuScale’s revolutionary technology,” said Rex Geveden, BWXT President and Chief Executive Officer.

SMR development includes competition from Russia, China, Britain and elsewhere. There are high stakes in establishing a best of or first of manufacturing process. "According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, every $1 billion of exports by U.S. companies represents at least 5,000 jobs," NuScale said.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is scheduled to approve NuScale’s Design Certification application in September 2020. NuScale’s first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, is on track to deploy the country’s first SMR plant in the mid-2020s.

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