GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Czech utility ČEZ have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on examining the economic and technical feasibility of potentially constructing a BWRX-300 in the Czech Republic. ČEZ operates two nuclear power plants which generate about one-third of the country’s electricity. The Czech government plans substituting aging coal plants with new nuclear build and renewables in the near future.
The BWRX-300 is a 300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation small modular reactor with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH's US Nuclear Regulatory Commission-certified ESBWR. Through "dramatic design simplification", GEH projects the BWRX-300 will require significantly less capital cost per MW when compared to other water-cooled SMR designs or existing large nuclear reactor designs.
"This agreement is the latest example of the growing global interest in our breakthrough SMR technology," said Jon Ball, Executive Vice President of Nuclear Products for GEH.
Daniel Beneš, CEO of ČEZ, said: "We are already engaged with the development of small modular reactors, especially in our daughter company ÚJV Řež. The SMRs can be a significant alternative in the future that we cannot ignore. The collaboration with GE Hitachi is therefore a logical step for us."
GEH said last week it had officially started the regulatory licensing process for its BWRX-300 reactor design. On 30 December, the company submitted the first licensing topical report for the SMR to the US NRC. In March 2019, it submitted an application for a service agreement with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) to conduct a vendor design review of the BWRX-300. The CNSC's review of the BWRX-300 was initiated in May.