GE Hitachi, Fermi Energia extend SMR cooperation

08 March 2021

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has entered into a teaming agreement with Fermi Energia to support the potential deployment of its BWRX-300 small modular reactor in Estonia. This follows their signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in late 2019.

The BWRX-300 (Image: GE Hitachi)

Under the 2019 MoU, the companies agreed to examine the economic feasibility of constructing a BWRX-300 in Estonia, to review siting requirements and to assess nuclear regulatory requirements. With the new agreement, GEH is to support Fermi Energia in licensing, human resources and supply chain development, as well as the continued development of the information and analysis needed for potential deployment of this SMR design in Estonia.

"This teaming agreement further strengthens our relationship with Fermi Energia as it works to help Estonia fulfill its energy security and climate goals," said Jon Ball, executive vice president of GEH. "We believe the innovative BWRX-300 SMR is an ideal solution for Estonia’s carbon-free energy needs and we look forward to continuing our work with the Fermi Energia team."

Kalev Kallemets, CEO of Fermi Energia added: "We look forward to continuing to develop in greater detail decision material for a credible National Spatial Plan, and help Estonia meet climate goals while maintaining security of supply of energy for Estonians and the region."

Fermi Energia was founded by Estonian energy and nuclear energy professionals to develop deployment of SMRs in Estonia. In July 2019, the company launched a feasibility study on the suitability of SMRs for Estonia's electricity supply and climate goals beyond 2030, following a financing round from investors and shareholders. It selected four SMR designs to be included in the feasibility study: Moltex Energy SSR-W300, Terrestrial Energy IMSR-400, GE Hitachi BWRX-300 and NuScale SMR. Fermi Energia has been cooperating with Sweden's Vattenfall, Finland's Fortum and Belgium's Tractabel.

Wilmington, North Carolina-based GEH says the BWRX-300, a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems, leverages the design and licensing basis of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission-certified ESBWR.

Earlier this month, the UK's Rolls-Royce and Fermi Energia signed an MoU to study the potential for the deployment of SMRs in the Baltic country. The study will cover all aspects of deployment, including grid suitability, cooling, emergency planning, human resources, licensing feasibility, economics and the supply chain.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News