Lockheed Martin has partnered with GE-Hitachi (GEH) to design and supply digital control systems for GEH's Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR).
|A cutaway of the ESBWR design (Image: GEH)
Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin's nuclear systems and solutions (NS&S) division will design and manufacture the main digital reactor control room systems for the so-called Generation III+ ESBWR. In addition, Lockheed Martin will also provide GEH with related simulation and training support, as well as services and replacement equipment.
The primary instrument and control (I&C) systems are used to monitor and control such plant parameters as water temperature, flow rates, water levels and plant pressures. These systems also perform autonomous analysis to alert operators and provide inputs to protective systems in off-normal conditions.
Most of Lockheed Martin's design and production work will be performed at its design engineering and manufacturing facilities in Archbald, Pennsylvania, and Dallas, Texas. Simulation and training support will be provided in Orlando, Florida.
Dan Heller, vice president of the company's NS&S division, commented, "This partnership leverages our corporate resources and reactor controls and further diversifies our position in the energy and nuclear power segments."
Lockheed Martin has been supplying safety-critical I&C systems for naval and civilian nuclear projects for more than 50 years. It has been providing digital systems for over 30 years. Its I&C systems are currently operating on all of the USA's nuclear-powered submarines and aircraft carriers.
GEH's ESBWR has evolved from earlier boiling water reactor (BWR) designs. Generation III+ reactors typically have simpler designs than earlier reactors, and are more fuel efficient and inherently safer. The simpler, standardized design reduces capital cost and construction time, while expediting licensing. The greatest departure from earlier reactor designs is the incorporation of 'passive' safety features which rely on natural forces such as gravity, evaporation and condensation rather than 'active' systems which rely on large numbers of powered pumps and valves that must be put into operation to ensure safety in the event of a malfunction - the ESBWR design eliminates 11 systems from previous designs and has 25% fewer valves.
The ESBWR is the preferred design of three US nuclear operators looking into new build. GEH submitted the design certification application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August 2005, with design certification then expected in 2010. However, in 2009 it submitted a revised application which extended the schedule to September 2011.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News