The US Department of Energy (US DOE) has selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to lead an advanced nuclear technology development project for BWRX-300.

The project will bring together Exelon Generation, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy (HGNE), Bechtel and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

As part of the project, the team will identify various methods to simplify the reactor design, reduce plant construction costs, and minimise operations and maintenance costs for the GEH BWRX-300, a 300 MWe small modular reactor.

"The project will receive more than $1.9m in DOE funding, as part of a nearly $20m investment in advanced nuclear technology announced by the department earlier this month."

GEH Nuclear Plant Projects executive vice-president Jon Ball said: “We are excited to announce our continued industry collaboration to develop the BWRX-300, a potentially game-changing technology.

“We have assembled a strong team of experts in nuclear plant design, construction methods and plant operations, with the goal of developing a clean energy solution that is cost-competitive with combined cycle gas generation and renewables.”

The project will receive more than $1.9m in DOE funding, as part of a nearly $20m investment in advanced nuclear technology announced by the department earlier this month.

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The technologies developed by the team are expected to be part of the BWRX-300, which leverages the design and licensing basis of the NRC-certified ESBWR.

GEH projects that the BWRX-300 will need up to 60% less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMRs or existing large nuclear designs.

If the target is achieved, BWRX-300 is set to become cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas and renewables.

HGNE Global Business Development & Management Division senior vice-president Masahito Yoshimura said: “The BWRX-300 is the ultimate simplification of the boiling water reactor which already had the intrinsic advantage of the direct steam cycle.

“We will contribute to this exciting project by bringing our advanced manufacturing and construction expertise, instrumental in completing our Japanese NPP projects on schedule and on a budget, as well as our recently enhanced engineering capabilities developed for our UK ABWR project.”