US-based Exelon Nuclear has announced that it will use GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's new generation reactor technology if it decides to build a new nuclear plant in Texas.

The so-called economic simplified boiling water reactor (ESBWR) operates by relying more on natural forces, such as gravity and convection, to operate passive safety systems, than on the large numbers of active pumps and valves used in existing technology. Exelon is studying locations in Matagorda and Victoria counties as potential reactor sites.

Exelon expects to submit the combined construction and operating license application to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission in November 2008. A combined construction and operating license is required for the construction of a new nuclear power plant (NPP), but the application does not imply that the firm has made a commitment to build an NPP.

Tom O’Neill, vice president of new plant development at Exelon, said: After months of rigorous investigation, we selected GE Hitachi’s ESBWR because the design is complementary to Exelon’s mission of providing the highest standards of safety and environmental accountability. The ESBWR meets those criteria, plus GE Hitachi has a proven track record of designing reliable plants.