GE-Hitachi is planning a push into new markets with its reactor designs next year. Regional sales offices are planned and the ESBWR will be put to UK regulators.
|The product line-up. ESWR and ABWR
The reactor vendor, formed from the merger of GE and Hitachi's nuclear businesses in 2007, is yet to secure a contract to build in European or North American markets. However, its ABWR design enjoys design certification by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and four of these units are already in operation in Japan. GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has two additional ABWRs under construction in Japan and another two on Taiwan.
Its leading design, the larger ESBWR, is expected to be issued with US design certification in September 2011. GEH is working with DTE Energy towards potentially building an ESBWR at the Fermi site in Michigan and a combined construction and operating licence for the project is on schedule for 2012 completion.
In preparation for this ESBWR project and others that may arise, such as those slated for India, GE-Hitachi yesterday signed memorandums of understanding with three pump suppliers: Curtiss-Wright, Clyde Union and Energy Steel & Supply Co. The vendor is to "begin discussions" with them "about supplying components for new nuclear power plant projects in the USA and around the world."
One market GE-Hitachi is keen to enter is the UK. Senior vice president of nuclear plant projects Danny Roderick told World Nuclear News that the firm wants to put the ESBWR design before UK regulators as soon as it has US certification. The British Health and Safety Executive is currently fully occupied evaluating the Areva EPR and Westinghouse AP1000 for suitability in the country. There is a deadline of June 2011 to complete that process, although some regulatory work is likely to remain.
Roderick emphasised GE-Hitachi's historically long term approach to nuclear markets, adding that their potential customer in the UK is looking at a 2022-5 timeframe for completion. In addition a specific site has been selected, which should enable licensing in a "reasonable period."
A wider push for reactor sales is to come in the form of GE-Hitachi sales offices in Madrid, Vienna, Mexico City and Tokyo. The cities tally with GE's longstanding Spanish supply chain, the two GE-supplied reactors at Mexico's Laguna Verde nuclear power plant, the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency as a convenient meeting place with contacts in emerging nuclear countries and the headquarters of Hitachi-GE. Another sales office is planned for the Middle East, but no decision has yet been taken on its precise location.
David Durham, senior vice president of global sales and marketing, said about 15 salespeople would work in these offices and "offer access to the full range of GE-Hitachi technical expertise and products." Both the reactor designs are to be marketed. Researched and written
by World Nuclear News