GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) today announced that its Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) design certification has been approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
“Achieving design certification means the ESBWR, the world’s safest reactor, can now become a reality,” said Caroline Reda, president and CEO of GEH. “Design certification will not only benefit our U.S. customers, it marks a crucial step forward for the ESBWR’s commercial advancement globally.”
The commission’s action acknowledges the finding by NRC staff that the ESBWR design meets all safety and regulatory requirements. Per the NRC’s previously published schedule, the final ESBWR design certification rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register by the end of September.
The ESBWR employs advanced, true passive safety systems and a simplified design utilizing natural circulation. These attributes result in the ability of the reactor to cool itself for more than seven days without operator intervention or AC power on or off site. Based on core damage frequency, the industry standard measure of safety, the ESBWR is the world’s safest approved nuclear reactor design.
Two license applications referencing ESBWR technology are currently pending with the NRC. In 2008, DTE Energy selected ESBWR technology for a proposed nuclear power plant, Fermi 3, with an NRC license expected in 2015.
"We congratulate GE Hitachi on the attainment of design approval for its ESBWR," said Ron May, DTE Energy's executive vice president of major enterprise projects. "This is an important milestone for both GE Hitachi and for us as we near the final stages of obtaining a combined license from the NRC, for a potential ESBWR unit at our Fermi site in Michigan."
Last year, Dominion Virginia Power selected ESBWR technology for its North Anna Unit 3 Nuclear Power Plant project, with an NRC license expected in 2016.
“We are pleased that GE Hitachi has achieved this milestone in obtaining NRC certification for its ESBWR reactor design,” said David A. Christian, CEO, Dominion Generation. “This is yet another step in the process that is required for us to obtain a combined operating license for North Anna Unit 3. While the company has not made a decision to build the new unit, we consider North Anna 3 as an important part of our strategy to maintain a diverse supply of electrical generation for our customers and at the same time lower our overall carbon footprint in Virginia.”
GEH’s ESBWR Receives Design Approval by NRC
In addition to these domestic projects, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. has selected a site in the Kovvada region in the state of Andhra Pradesh for the eventual construction of multiple ESBWRs. Design certification also paves the way for the ESBWR to be built in other locations around the globe. Key global commercial projects include: Finland, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Vietnam and others.
The ESBWR’s technology represents the culmination of more than 55 years of experience designing, building and servicing advanced reactors globally. In addition to its best-in-class safety, the ESBWR includes a modular design for ease of construction, increased fuel efficiency and the lowest projected operating, maintenance and staffing costs per megawatt hour in the industry.
About GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
Based in Wilmington, N.C., GEH is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in June 2007, GEH is a part of a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety.
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