GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and ČEZ, a. s. (ČEZ), an integrated electricity conglomerate, have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding through which the companies have agreed to examine the economic and technical feasibility of potentially constructing a BWRX-300 in the Czech Republic.
“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. “Because of our unique, design-to-cost approach, we believe the BWRX-300 is ideally positioned to help the Czech Republic meet a growing demand for affordable, clean, carbon-free energy.”
“As a company, we are focused on developing new energy solutions and technologies,” said Daniel Beneš, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of ČEZ. “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.”
“Our aim is to set trends, not only to follow them,” said Karel Havlíček, Vice-Premier and Minister of Industry of the Czech Republic. “Czech government gives tops priority to innovations and small modular reactors can be the future of nuclear energy. I am glad ČEZ has intensive research in this field. Czech nuclear energy research has traditionally been one of the best in the world and the cooperation with GE Hitachi on development of small modular reactors further confirms this position.”
ČEZ operates two nuclear power plants in the Czech Republic which generate approximately 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 SMR with passive safety systems that leverages the design and licensing basis of GEH’s U.S. NRC-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.
By leveraging the existing ESBWR design certification, utilizing licensed and proven nuclear fuel designs, incorporating proven components and supply chains and implementing simplification innovations the BWRX-300 can, GEH believes, become cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas plants and renewable energy platforms.
As the tenth evolution of GE’s first Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) design, GEH’s BWRX-300 represents the simplest, yet most innovative BWR design since GE began commercializing nuclear reactors in 1955.