Canada’s SaskPower and GE Vernova’s Nuclear business, GE Hitachi (GEH), have signed an agreement to advance small modular reactor (SMR) development in Saskatchewan. SaskPower and GEH will collaborate on project planning and facilitate the sharing of expertise related to the design, fuel sourcing and fabrication for GEH’s BWRX-300 SMR. It will also support workforce and supply chain planning needed for Saskatchewan-based SMR deployment.

In June 2022, SaskPower selected the BWRX-300 as the technology to be used in its SMR development work for potential deployment in the mid-2030s after considering several SMR technologies. The company said it had identified two areas in the province of Saskatchewan – Estevan and Elbow as possible sites. The BWRX-300 was also selected by Ontario Power Generation for its Darlington New Nuclear. The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s ESBWR which has US Nuclear Regulatory Commission certification.

As a result of design simplification, GEH claims the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW compared with other SMR designs. GEH says the BWRX-300 is being designed to reduce construction and operating costs below other nuclear power generation technologies. It will leverage a combination of existing fuel, plant simplifications, proven components as well as a design based on an already licensed reactor.

SaskPower President and CEO Rupen Pandya said gaining detailed technical specifications, requirements and designs to the BWRX-300 “is necessary for our planning work and licence applications” He added: “Leveraging experience and expertise from our colleagues in the nuclear industry is an important part of our planning work.” SaskPower will not make a final decision until 2029, but will continue with project development, licensing and regulatory work.

Image courtesy of GE Hitachi

Date: Friday, 02 February 2024
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