BWXT to manufacture BWRX-300 reactor vessel

22 March 2023

Cambridge, Ontario-based nuclear engineering firm BWX Technologies (BWXT) has been contracted by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to provide engineering analysis, design support, manufacturing and procurement preparations for the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for the BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR).

A cutaway of a plant based on the BWRX-300 (Image: GEH)

The RPV - which contains the reactor core and associated internals - comprises the largest component within the BWRX-300.

"Intricate design projects like the RPV for GEH's BWRX-300 are well-suited for BWXT's engineering capabilities, as BWXT excels in supplying design solutions for complex nuclear components that BWXT can efficiently manufacture," said John MacQuarrie, president of BWXT Commercial Operations. "We are grateful to GEH for their confidence in our experience and are thrilled to be one of the first to execute an SMR design contract for a North American deployment."

The contract follows the signing of a teaming agreement by GEH and BWXT in October 2021 to cooperate on engineering and procurement to support the design, manufacturing and commercialisation of the BWRX-300. That agreement built on a memorandum of understanding signed by GEH and BWXT Canada in June 2020.

The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems. It leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH's ESBWR boiling water reactor, which has been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and is the tenth evolution of GE's first boiling water reactor design.

Last month, Estonia's Fermi Energia selected the BWRX-300 for potential deployment in the Baltic country by the early 2030s. It will now sign a project development and preliminary works contract with GEH.

In January, GEH, Ontario Power Generation (OPG), SNC-Lavalin and Aecon signed a contract for the deployment of a BWRX-300 SMR at OPG's Darlington site. In August last year, Tennessee Valley Authority began planning and preliminary licensing for potential deployment of a BWRX-300 at the Clinch River Site in Tennessee. Canada's SaskPower announced in June 2022 that it selected the BWRX-300 for potential deployment in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News