Exelon and JAPC form joint venture, Horizon welcomes move

13 April 2017

Exelon Generation and Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC) have formed a joint venture company "to leverage Exelon's expertise in operational excellence and safety among international operators using Japanese reactor technologies". The new company, JExel Nuclear, is expected to sign an "advisory services" contract with Horizon Nuclear Power - Hitachi's UK subsidiary that is developing two Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWRs) at Wylfa Newydd in Wales.

Horizon, JAPC and Hitachi signed a technical services contract in July last year for the proposed plant at Wylfa Newydd, which is on the Isle of Anglesey. According to that contract, JAPC is to support Horizon in areas including construction costing, licensing, and planning for commissioning. Then, in February this year, Horizon announced it was joining forces with Exelon Generation as Horizon develops its "expertise and capability" to operate a new nuclear power plant at Wylfa Newydd.

Chris Crane, Exelon president and CEO, said today that the Exelon Nuclear Management Model is "widely regarded as the gold standard for world-class nuclear power operations". The joint venture with JAPC is "a significant business development opportunity" to license Exelon's nuclear operations expertise internationally, Crane added. "Together we will help other nuclear developers and operators around the globe create a new generation of even safer, more reliable and more efficient nuclear power plants," he said.

Mamoru Muramatsu, JAPC president, said the company has experience in the successful operation of multiple reactors in Japan built by British, American, and Japanese vendors, as well as experience designing the ABWR. "Therefore, we will make an excellent team with Exelon that has a very impressive track record over decades in the USA, by complementing each other's expertise that will allow the joint venture to best support our customers," Muramatsu added.

JExel Nuclear will provide advisory, operating and maintenance management services to nuclear power plant developers and operators around the world utilising Japanese reactor technologies, according to the statement. The new company will provide full implementation of the Exelon Nuclear Management Model or work with project owners to customise the model to their requirements, it said.

Exelon Generation and JAPC each own 50% of JExel Nuclear and each have two board members. The four directors for JExel Nuclear will be: Takahiko Hida, managing director of JAPC; Toshihiro Komeno, general manager of JAPC; Mike Pacilio, executive vice president and COO of Exelon Generation; and Ralph Hunter, vice president of Exelon Generation and COO of Exelon Nuclear Partners. Takahiko Hida will serve as the CEO.

Welcome development

Horizon welcomed the formation of JExel Nuclear, which it said will support the company as it continues to progress its nuclear new build project at Wylfa Newydd.

Duncan Hawthorne, Horizon CEO said: "We are delighted that two of the companies with whom we are already working closely have come together to provide us with such a strong and consolidated service. We look forward to continuing to draw on their combined knowledge and experience of the global nuclear industry as we successfully deliver Wylfa Newydd and grow Horizon into a new, leading nuclear operator."

Since announcing their partnership in February, Exelon has embedded a team of four specialists at Horizon. "Working alongside Horizon's own growing team, they are providing expertise in engineering, maintenance, operations and training, as Horizon develops its own nuclear operating model," Horizon said.

Its partnership with JAPC draws on the Japanese company's experience and know-how gained from many years of involvement with boiling water reactors, covering design, construction, operation and maintenance, Horizon said. JAPC oversaw the construction of Japan's first light water reactor and is supporting Horizon in areas such as construction costing, licensing, and planning for commissioning, it added.

Japanese news agency Nikkei reported today that JAPC "will expand its services to operation and maintenance" at Wylfa Newydd through the new joint venture, but Horizon has always made it clear that it alone will be the operator of the plant. The technical services contract Horizon, Hitachi and JAPC signed last year states that JAPC will have an advisory role as Horizon develops its own operating model.

Nikkei also reported that JExel Nuclear will be headquartered in Japan and be capitalised at ¥10 million ($91,500).

Horizon announced on 4 April it had applied for a nuclear site licence for the proposed development of the Wylfa Newydd plant, while the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales said on 22 March they expect to complete the Generic Design Assessment of the UK ABWR in December. A site licence meanwhile is one of the main permissions a developer needs to build and operate a new nuclear power plant and Horizon said receipt of the application by the ONR "now triggers a rigorous 19-month program of assessment and intervention to establish whether Horizon can demonstrate it will be in control of all safety related activities on its site".

Exelon Generation's chief nuclear officer, Bryan Hanson, told delegates at the 19th annual ELECTRIC POWER Conference this week in Chicago, that nuclear power has a vital role in the USA's clean energy future. In a keynote speech on 11 April, Hanson said power generators must adapt, innovate and advocate for policy reforms to survive and grow in today's challenging power markets. "Efficiency improvements and new technologies are making our facilities safer, cleaner and more effective, but operating our nuclear units safely and reliably isn’t enough anymore," Hanson said. "We have to adapt, innovate and advocate for the value of our people and our plants."

In January, Horizon said it had been awarded a licensee certificate by Bureau Veritas for the procurement of equipment required for the Wylfa Newydd plant. The certificate is verification that organisations yet to be granted a nuclear site licence have suitable management systems, quality arrangements and supply chain practices in place before the purchase of any nuclear safety related equipment or services.

Horizon was formed in 2009 to develop new nuclear power stations in the UK. It was acquired by Hitachi Ltd of Japan in November 2012. The company is developing plans to build at least 5400 MWe of new nuclear power generation plant at Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in South Gloucestershire. The company has said its nuclear power plant sites will employ 850 people each once operational, and have a construction workforce of between 8000 and 10,000.

Exelon Generation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, owns a generating capacity of more than 32,500 MWe. It operates the largest nuclear power fleet in the USA, with 19,400 Mwe of capacity from 22 reactors at 13 facilities in Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

JAPC was established in November 1957 as a power company solely engaged in nuclear power in Japan. JAPC owns Tokai Power Station, a gas-cooled reactor that is currently under decommissioning; Tokai No.2 Power Station, a BWR; and Tsuruga Power Station, which comprises a BWR (unit 1) and a pressurised water reactor (Unit 2). Advanced-PWRs are under construction at its Tsuruga site.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News