Bechtel said that it is joining researchers from reactor designer GE Hitachi, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Exelon Power Generation Company as recipients of US Department of Energy funding from its Advanced Nuclear Technology Development program.

bechtel-hq

Image: Bechtel global headquarters moves to the Washington, D.C. Area. Photo: courtesy of Bechtel Corporation.

The research will investigate ways to efficiently build a plant using GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 reactors.

Bechtel nuclear power group operations manager Mike Robinson said: “We’re excited to participate in this effort to study ways to build new plants using SMRs.

“We’ll look at ways to bring innovation and modular technology to the project with the goal of reducing cost and schedule, which are key factors for companies and utilities examining SMRs.”

The BWRX-300 reactor is designed for safety, simplicity, efficiency, and cost competitiveness. The research aims to identify ways to reduce plant completion costs from 40 to 60 percent versus other SMRs in development, making the reactors competitive in energy markets today and in the future.

The DOE award will provide 80 percent of the expected research costs up to about $2 million.

SMRs reduce costs through simplified designs and smaller sizes when compared with traditional light-water reactors. That results in the use of fewer construction materials and the ability to apply unique modularization and innovative construction techniques.

In some cases, SMRs and modules can be built inside factories and then shipped to plant construction sites for final installation.

Source: Company Press Release