GE Energy has signed an agreement with NuStart Energy Development to design and seek a US Nuclear Regulatory Commission license for its next-generation Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, for up to two proposed projects to be sited at existing US nuclear power plants.

NuStart, a US nuclear industry consortium comprised of nine leading utilities and two nuclear suppliers, and GE Energy are developing the new nuclear projects in conjunction with a new US government scheme to speed up the regulatory process and provide supportive funds to facilitate construction.

As part of the process, NuStart is working with the US Department of Energy to test the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)’s streamlined process to obtain the joint construction and operating license (COL) required for the construction of a new nuclear reactor. If the two NuStart nuclear projects are approved, the units would be among the first ordered in the US since the early 1970s.

Meanwhile, The Department of Energy’s Nuclear 2010 initiative is designed to help accelerate new reactor construction in the US by providing a 50% cost-share for preparation of construction operating license applications necessary for the development of new nuclear plants.

The Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor offered by GE Energy is a new class of Generation III+ reactor, designed to be safer, more cost-effective to operate and faster to build, due to passive safety systems, simplified design and a smaller footprint.

This agreement with NuStart is the latest in a string of strong signals that many key players in the US recognize the time has come to make certain nuclear energy remains a significant part of our country’s energy mix, said Andy White, president and CEO of GE Energy’s nuclear business. This agreement is a major step forward in helping make the building of new nuclear facilities in the US a reality.