GE Vernova’s nuclear business, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, was on 25 January awarded a £33.6 m Future Nuclear Enabling Fund grant from the UK’s Department for Energy Security & Net Zero. The UK government has ambitions for 24 GW of nuclear generation by 2050 to help in providing energy security for the UK and for meeting net zero. The grant will help GE Hitachi develop its small nuclear reactor design.
“The biggest expansion of nuclear power for 70 years is underway in the UK and small modular reactors are front and centre in this rapid revival,” commented minister for Nuclear, Andrew Bowie. said. “This FNEF grant will help accelerate regulatory acceptance and its deployment readiness while we continue to develop a robust UK supply chain,” commented Jay Wileman, president and CEO, GEH.
GEH partners in its submission UK companies Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke and Cavendish Nuclear along with Synthos Green Energy (SGE), an investor and developer from Poland. GEH is developing a UK supply chain which includes an MoU with Sheffield Forgemasters for a potential supply agreement for UK-sourced steel forgings.
In conjunction with the FNEF grant, GEH will enter the Generic Design Assessment (GDA) process for its BWRX-300 reactor, to allow UK regulators to assess the standards of safety, security and environmental protection of the new design.
GE reports a growing interest globally in the BWRX-300. In July, the Province of Ontario announced it was working with Ontario Power Generation to begin planning and licensing for the deployment of three additional BWRX-300 SMRs at the Darlington New Nuclear Project site. In March, it was announced that GEH, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), OPG and SGE would team up to invest in the development of the BWRX-300 standard design and detailed design for key components. In February, Fermi Energia selected the BWRX-300 for potential deployment in Estonia.
Image: Artist's impression of the BWRX-300 plant (courtesy of GE Hitachi)