OPG will serve as the license holder and will maintain overall responsibility for the project, while GEH will serve as the technology developer, SNC-Lavalin as the architect and engineer, and Aecon will provide construction services


GE Hitachi BWRX-300 small modular reactor. (Credit: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), SNC-Lavalin, and Aecon have signed an agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to deliver the first grid-scale SMR in North America.

The SMR is planned to be deployed at OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project site.

Under an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model, OPG will serve as the license holder and will maintain overall responsibility for the project.

OPG will be responsible for operator training, commissioning, Indigenous engagement, stakeholder outreach and oversight of the project.

GEH will serve as a technology developer, providing a range of project activities including design, engineering licensing support, construction, testing, training, and commissioning.

SNC-Lavalin will be the architect and engineer for the project, providing design, engineering, and procurement support.

Aecon will provide all construction services, including project management, construction planning and execution.

Works related to site preparation are currently underway and SMR construction is expected to reach completion in the fourth quarter of 2028.

GEH president and CEO Jay Wileman said: “This contract is an important milestone and solidifies our position as the leading SMR technology provider.

“We aim to deliver the first SMR in North America and, in doing so, lead the start of a new era of nuclear power that will provide zero-emission energy generation, energy security and energy reliability around the globe.

“We can’t express our appreciation enough for the leadership role that OPG and the Province of Ontario are taking for a project that will benefit Ontario, Canada and the world.”

The Darlington SMR will be the GE Hitachi BWRX-300 reactor, a new class of nuclear reactors that provide up to 300MW of electric power

The BWRX-300 is a 300MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems that use the design and licensing basis of GEH’s US NRC-certified ESBWR.

GEH said that its BWRX-300 reactor will reduce construction and operating costs than other nuclear power generation technologies, and help customers achieve decarbonisation goals.

In addition, the BWRX-300 leverages a unique combination of existing fuel used in operating reactors, plant simplifications, components and design based on already licensed reactor technology.

GEH advanced nuclear executive vice president Sean Sexstone said: “This first commercial contract for a small modular reactor in North America marks a significant milestone in deploying SMRs in Canada and across the globe.

“We look forward to working with our partners to ensure this project is delivered safely, on time and within budget, providing significant opportunity for the team and the Province of Ontario.

“GEH is excited and humbled to be leading the industry as the world looks to adopt SMR technology to help achieve its energy and security objectives.”