Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction has signed an engineering service contract with X-energy of the USA for studies into the manufacture of major components for the Xe-100 small modular reactor (SMR). The South Korean company said participating in the project will help it to diversify its own SMR business.

The contract was signed by Martin Van Staden, Vice President of X-energy (left), and Jongdoo Kim, Vice President of Doosan Heavy (right), at the X-energy headquarters located in Rockville, Maryland (Image: Doosan)

Under the contract, signed on 27 August, Doosan will support the development of the reactor by performing a study for its optimum design in terms of manufacturability. It will also conduct mock-up tests for critical manufacturing processes.

The Xe-100 is an 80 MWe (scalable to a 320 MWe four-pack) high-temperature gas-cooled (HTGR) reactor which uses TRISO (tristructural isotropic) particle fuel. It can integrate into large, regional electricity systems as a base and load-following source of carbon-free power, and can optimise grid use of low-emission, intermittent renewables and other clean energy resources, X-energy says. It can also provide a source of industrial process heat.

"SMRs are rapidly emerging in the world energy market because they contribute to carbon neutrality for confronting the climate change crisis," said Na Ki-yong, head of Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction's Nuclear Business Group division. "Through participating in the design stage of X-energy's HTGR, Doosan plans to participate in manufacturing of major equipment. In addition to our pressurised water reactor SMR business already in progress, this HTGR SMR enables us to diversify our SMR business."

The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program in May 2020 to help domestic private industry demonstrate advanced nuclear reactors in the USA. The programme will speed the deployment of advanced reactors through cost-shared partnerships with the private sector.

X-energy was announced by the DOE in October 2020 as one of two awardees - the other being TerraPower - to receive USD80 million each of initial cost-shared funding to build an advanced reactor demonstration plant that can be operational within seven years. DOE selected X-energy to deliver a commercial TRISO fuel fabrication facility and a four-module version of its Xe-100 reactor, which the company plans to site at Energy Northwest's Columbia nuclear power plant in Washington State. DOE will invest about USD1.23 billion in X-energy's project over the seven-year period.

In April, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Energy Northwest, Grant County Public Utility District and X-energy to form a partnership to support the development and commercial demonstration of the USA's first advanced nuclear reactor. The TRi Energy Partnership aims to construct a plant based on X-energy's Xe-100 reactor design at the Columbia site.

X-energy last year initiated a pre-licensing Vendor Design Review of the Xe-100 with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. It is one of three grid-scale SMR technology developers selected by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to advance engineering and design work, with the goal of identifying options for future deployment. OPG is considering the deployment of an SMR development at its existing Darlington site as early as 2028.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Thursday, 02 September 2021
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