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Holtec Inks Collaboration Deal for SMR Fuel Development

Dan Yurman's picture
Editor & Publisher, NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy

Publisher of NeutronBytes, a blog about nuclear energy online since 2007.  Consultant and project manager for technology innovation processes and new product / program development for commercial...

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  • Feb 20, 2018

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF), Holtec International and SMR Inventec, LLC (SMR, LLC),  announced a collaboration to advance the development of the SMR-160, a single loop, 160 MWe pressurized light water reactor based on existing light water technologies. (Technical briefing – PDF file)

Holtec SMR

Conceptual model of Holtec 160MW SMR. Image: Holtec media web page


The cooperation will initially focus on nuclear fuel development supported by GNF and control rod drive mechanisms designed by GEH, and may later extend to other areas. Holtec plans to design, license, commercialize, deploy and service the SMR globally.

“We are excited to leverage the experience and capabilities of world class nuclear companies like GEH and GNF as we bring our game changing SMR-160 technology to global markets,” said Holtec President and CEO Dr. Kris Singh.

On January 31, 2018, SMR, LCC submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy with support from GEH and GNF, among others, in response to funding opportunity announcement DE-FOA-0001817. The “Integral and Separate Effects Test Program for the Investigation and Validation of Passive Safety System Performance of SMRs”

In August 2017 SMR LLC was granted access to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory by the DOE in support of the SMR-160, development of which began in 2011.

The project as proposed would yield a uniquely configurable set of testing platforms to demonstrate passive safety system performance, accelerate the SMR-160 and other small modular reactor designs to market and help license these designs with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and international regulators.

GEH and GNF will support phenomena assessments, scaling analyses, safety analysis system code assessment and benchmarking and identification of recommended experimental tests.

“We believe that our experience with boiling water reactor fuel lends itself quite well to the design features of the SMR-160,” said Amir Vexler, CEO of GNF.

“We’ve been manufacturing boiling water reactor fuel at our Wilmington, North Carolina facility for nearly 50 years and we look forward to the possibility of making SMR-160 fuel here too.”

World Nuclear News reported that last July last, Holtec signed a teaming agreement with Canada’s SNC-Lavalin to collaborate in the development of the SMR-160. Under the agreement, SNC-Lavalin – the parent company of Candu Energy – will provide Holtec with a range of nuclear engineering services, including supporting the licensing of the SMR-160 reactor.

Holtec has previously secured engineering, design and qualification support for its work on the SMR-160 from the Shaw Group and URS Corporation, and has a strategic alliance with utility PSEG Power, operator of three nuclear units at Salem and Hope Creek in New Jersey.

In August 2015, Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc signed a long-term partnership agreement with Holtec to develop the instrumentation and control systems for the SMR-160.

Holtec president and chief executive officer Kris Singh said these collaborations will ensure the supply chain is in place to deliver and fabricate critical SMR-160 technologies and components, including at the company’s new advanced manufacturing division in the state of New Jersey.

Holtec Said to Plan SMR Manufacturing Plant in Ukraine

holtec logoAccording to English language wire service reports Holtec International is considering expanding its facilities in Ukraine for the production of small modular reactors for nuclear power plants.

The reports quote Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States Valeriy Chaly who said February 14 that the possibility of joint production of small modular reactors in Ukraine is being considered.

According to Chaly, President of Holtec International Kris Singh, when he opened a similar company in New Jersey, said during a personal conversation that he was considering building such a plant in Ukraine.

“President Singh has, in fact, selected only three sites in the world where he wants to implement his project – India, where he comes from, the United States, where his company currently operates, and Ukraine,” the Ukrainian diplomat said.

Holtec has declined to comment in the past on media reports it wants to build an SMR plant in the Ukraine.

The firm is deeply involved in helping Ukraine manage spent nuclear fuel.

According to World Nuclear News on February 15th the U.S. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) issued a “political risk insurance contract” for the Central Spent Fuel Storage Facility (CSFSF) at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. OPIC, the US government’s development finance institution, is providing insurance to support the project trust’s $250 million fixed-rate bond securities issuance in US capital markets.

The proceeds will fund a 20-year loan to Ukraine’s nuclear power plant operator Energoatom. The facility, which Energoatom and the USA’s Holtec International started building last November, will store used fuel from three of Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants. Holtec specializes in technology for wet and dry storage of spent nuclear fuel.

Rolls-Royce Said to Claim Its First SMR Can Be Ready by 2030

Bloomberg: Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc says it will take 12 years to build its prototype small nuclear reactor in the U.K. According to the wire service, Alan Woods, director of strategy and business development at the engineering firm, said the company will take its time and not make promises it can’t keep.

Woods added that Rolls-Royce needs as long as five years for the licensing and design assessment process, while construction will take another seven for its first 440 MW unit.  At this size it really isn’t an SMR which is usually defined as being less than 300 MW. The 440 MW design is based on doubling a 220 MW design.

Woods predicted that the firm could start the generic design assessment (GDA) process for the new reactors by the end of 2018 depending on government action. The firm gave a long interview to World Nuclear News in June 2017 about its market prospects.

IAEA Announces Expansion Of International Cooperation On SMR Technology

NucNet: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is launching an effort to expand international cooperation and coordination in the design, development and deployment of small, medium sized or modular reactors (SMRs), which are among “the most promising emerging technologies in nuclear power,” the agency said on February 16.

The IAEA said global interest in SMRs is growing.  The first three advanced SMRs are expected to begin commercial operation in Argentina, China and Russia between 2018 and 2020.

The IAEA technical working group, comprising some 20 IAEA member states and international organizations, is scheduled to meet for the first time on 23-26 April 2018 at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna.

South Korea Pursues Saudi Arabia Nuclear Power Deal

Yonhap News Agency: South Korea’s energy ministry said  it will make concerted efforts with the local nuclear industry and related associations to submit a winning proposal for Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear power project, which is expected to select a contractor by the end of this year.  South Korea has been working on an SMR design for export in an MOU with Saudi Arabia for the past several years.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held a meeting with the two state utility firms — the Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) and the Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP) — as well as nuclear institutes and trade organizations to set up an effective strategy to secure the crucial deal.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, has received offers from five nations, including South Korea, to build two nuclear reactors. The kingdom is expected to shortlist two to three preferred bidders by April and plans to select a winner by the end of this year.

France’s Macron Does Not Rule Out Building New Nuclear Reactors

Reuters: French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not rule out France building new nuclear reactors to replacing state-controlled utility EDF’s ageing reactors.

According to the wire service Macron told reporters. “There is no taboo about this subject.”

Macron said he remains committed to reducing France’s carbon emissions and his promise to close coal-fired plants but did not say how he would reduce the share of nuclear energy in French power generation.

According to the World Nuclear Association, France has a plan for a submerged SMR, called Flexblue. This is a conceptual design from DCNS (a state-owned defense group), Areva, EdF and CEA.

It is designed to be submerged, 60-100 meters deep on the sea bed up to 15 km offshore, and returned to a dry dock for servicing. The reactor, steam generators and turbine-generator would be housed in a submerged 12,000 tonne cylindrical hull about 100 meters long and 12-15 meters diameter.

Each hull and power plant would be transportable using a purpose-built vessel. Reactor capacity is 50-250 MWe, derived from DCNS’s latest naval designs.

The design was most recently (August 2017) profiled in the Economist which published a report on floating nuclear power plants. The newspaper explored the idea that having the plants at sea would be safer than building them inland.

Original Post

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Feb 21, 2018

Lots of talk about SMRs, but not much action. Big grids like China’s don’t need them, so it will be up to countries like the UK and India to get the ball rolling.

Dan Yurman's picture
Thank Dan for the Post!
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