Dow, X-energy SMR deployment project progresses

01 March 2023

Materials science company Dow and X-energy have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to develop a four-unit Xe-100 high-temperature gas reactor facility at one of Dow's US Gulf Coast sites.

(Image: X-energy)

In August 2022, the two companies signed a Letter of Intent which they said will help Dow advance its carbon emissions reduction goals through the development and deployment of X-energy's advanced small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear technology. Dow also intends to take a minority equity stake in X-energy.

The Xe-100 is one of two designs selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) in 2020 to receive USD80 million each of initial cost-shared funding to build an advanced reactor demonstration plant that can be operational within seven years. A four-unit Xe-100 plant is planned for construction at a site in Washington state.

"As a sub-awardee under the US Department of Energy's Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Cooperative Agreement with X-energy, Dow intends to work with X-energy to install their Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor plant at one of Dow's US Gulf Coast sites, providing the site with safe, reliable, low-carbon power and steam within this decade," X-energy said.

The JDA includes up to USD50 million in engineering work, up to half of which is eligible to be funded through ARDP, and the other half by Dow. The JDA work scope also includes the preparation and submission of a construction permit application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Working with DOE and subject to its review and approval, Dow and X-energy expect to finalise site selection in 2023. The companies intend to perform further ARDP-related work under the JDA as the project progresses. Additionally, they have agreed to develop a framework to jointly license and utilise the technology and learnings from the project, which would enable other industrial customers to effectively utilise Xe-100 industrial low-carbon energy technology.

Each Xe-100 reactor is engineered to operate as a single 80 MW electric unit, optimised as a four-unit plant delivering 320 MWe. The reactor can provide baseload power to an electricity system or support industrial applications with 200 MW thermal output per unit of high pressure, high temperature steam.

"The four-reactor Xe-100 nuclear plant will provide a Dow facility with cost-competitive, low-carbon process heat and power to make essential products used by consumers and businesses every day," X-energy said.

Dow is working to deliver a 30% reduction in its scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The company is working to transition its sites and operations globally to cleaner power.

"The utilisation of X-energy's fourth generation nuclear technology will enable Dow to take a major step in reducing our carbon emissions while delivering lower carbon footprint products to our customers and society," said Dow chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling. "The collaboration with X-energy and the DOE will serve as a leading example of how the industrial sector can safely, effectively and affordably decarbonise."

"X-energy's collaboration with Dow brings added significance because of the immense opportunity to further reduce emissions in the energy-intensive industrial sector," said X-energy CEO Clay Sell. "From the beginning to the end of the supply chain, our technology can supply both power and heat to businesses in most sectors of the economy to help limit their carbon footprint. We are thrilled to work with Dow to deliver a successful project and illustrate the broad, highly flexible applications of X-energy's proprietary nuclear energy technology."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News