Under the terms of the deal, Bechtel will lead the program while BWXT will focus on designing and testing the nuclear steam supply system.

Bechtel will leverage on its experience in engineering, licensing, procurement, construction, and project management.

The firms will prepare a design certification application to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Known as Generation mPower, the project will be based on the BWXT 195MW mPower reactor power plant. The reactor will provide low-carbon electricity while meeting the challenges of climate change and sustainable development.

Bechtel nuclear power business unit general manager Ty Troutman said: "It’s one of the keys to solving the problem of replacing older power plants without relying on fossil fuels or the intermittent availability of solar and wind.

"Pound for pound, small modular reactors can deliver more 24/7 electricity than any other low-carbon alternative energy technology."

Designed for cost-effective deployment, the compact size Generation mPower features passive safety systems incorporating post-Fukushima design criteria; underground containment structure; and standard fuel assemblies made from less-than-five-percent-enriched uranium.

Troutman added: "Bechtel is unique in that we have, and will continue to take, the long view on nuclear power. We are an enduring presence in the industry."