GEH Nuclear, Fermi Energia Sign SMR MOU

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) said last week it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fermi Energia of Estonia to study the feasibility of deploying the GEH BWRX-300 small modular reactor in the Baltic nation.

GEH BWRX-300The MOU covers feasibility studies involving construction, costs, legal framework and potential sites for a BWRX-300 reactor plant project. The Estonian company said it was seeking similar studies of four different small modular reactor systems, including NuScale’s SMR, the GEH BWRX-300, the Motex Energy SSR-W300 and the Terrestrial Energ IMSR-400. The studies are designed, nominally, to help design an energy strategy for Estonia beginning in 2030.

“Estonia needs to consider new generation small nuclear technology to maintain energy independence and achieve climate neutrality,” said Kalev Kallemets, CEO of Fermi Energia. “Boiling water reactors have been proven in the Nordics to be safe, economic and reliable providers of carbon-free energy for decades and the design of the BWRX-300 makes it investible and highly competitive technology.” 

The BWRX-300 is an adaptation of the GEH Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR), a design that has met with approval in the United States. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Energy provided $1.9 million in funding to assist GEG in creating a simplified design that would lower construction and operational costs for the GEH SMR design.

“The BWRX-300, a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems, leverages the design and licensing basis of the U.S. NRC-certified ESBWR. Through dramatic design simplification, GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require up to 60 percent less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMRs or existing large nuclear reactor designs,” according to a press statement.

“Our BWRX-300 small modular reactor is breakthrough technology that is designed to be cost competitive with gas and renewables and we think it represents an ideal solution for Estonia’s carbon-free energy needs,” said Jon Ball, Executive Vice President of Nuclear Plant Projects for GEH in a statement. “We look forward to working with Fermi Energia to highlight the technical capabilities, safety features and cost benefits of this innovative reactor technology.” 

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