Four industry consortia are to receive a total of $16.3 million to carry out technical and conceptual design studies to further the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) initiative, the US Department of Energy (DoE) has announced.
Under cooperative agreements awarded by the DoE, the consortia are to provide conceptual design studies, technology development roadmaps, business plans and a communication strategy to support decisions on the nuclear fuel reprocessing and recycling centre and advanced reactor proposed under GNEP. "These awards enable DoE to benefit from the vast technological and business experience of the private sector as we move towards the goal of closing the nuclear fuel cycle," said Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy Dennis R Spurgeon.
The largest share of the funding, $5.6 million, goes to the International Nuclear Recycling Alliance (INRA) led by Areva and including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd (JNFL), Battelle, BWX Technologies and Washington Group International. INRA says it has been contracted to provide three major studies: technology development roadmaps analyzing the technology needed to achieve GNEP goals; business plans for the development and commercialization of the advanced GNEP technologies and facilities; and conceptual design studies for the nuclear fuel reprocessing and recycling centre and advanced reactor.
Under the INRA umbrella, Areva, supported by JNFL, will perform conceptual design studies and develop a technical roadmap for the nuclear fuel centre. MHI will carry out similar work for the advanced reactor, based on a loop-type reactor. JNFL will also carry out specific studies on safety design principles and safeguards. Battelle will be the lead for the analysis for and preparation of the technology roadmap and DOE reporting, while BWX will lead on safeguards and security and provide licensing support. Washington Group will provide architect and engineering services.
The Energy Solutions consortium, which includes leader Energy Solutions, the Shaw Group and Westinghouse, plus Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL), Booz Allen Hamilton, Nexia Solutions, Nuclear Fuel Services and Toshiba, will receive $4.3 million. The GE-Hitachi Nuclear Americas consortium (GE-Hitachi, Burns and Roe, Ernst & Young, Fluor Corporation, IBM and Lockheed Martin) receives $4.8 million, while the General Atomics consortium (General Atomics, C2HM Hill, United Technologies Corporation, OKB Mechanical Engineering, Potomac Communications Group, Listo and Kaeri) gets $1.6 million.
The $16.3 million is part of $60 million of funds announced in May 2007 to engage industry experts in the conceptual design for the facilities proposed under the auspices of the GNEP project. GNEP is a US-led initiative that aims to work with other nations to develop new proliferation-resistant recycling technologies for spent nuclear fuel in order to produce more energy, reduce waste and minimize proliferation concerns. The remaining $44 million of funding is expected to be made available in the period to September 2009.
US Department of Energy (DoE)
Global Nuclear Energy Partnership
WNA's Cooperation in the Nuclear Power Industry information paper
WNN: Membership of GNEP has tripled
WNN: Funding for GNEP studies announced