OPG selects GEH Nuclear as tech partner; NNL, DNV form hydrogen joint venture

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know

GE Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR (Source: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) has selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy as its technology partner for the Darlington New Nuclear Plant Project, the companies said.

GEH Nuclear will work directly with OPG to deploy its BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) at the Darlington site by 2028.

“OPG is Ontario’s climate change leader and is positioned to become a world leader in SMRs. Together, this partnership will bring jobs and economic benefits to the Durham Region, Ontario and Canada, and potential global export of this technology,” said Jay Wileman, President & CEO, GEH.

GEH Nuclear has created 80 skilled jobs at its Ontario headquarters to support the deployment of the BWRX-300 in Canada and around the world, GEH said.

The project is expected to spend $2 billion over seven years and create nearly $1.3 billion in gross domestic product and over 1,700 jobs in Canada during the manufacturing and construction phase, PricewaterhouseCoopers said in an independent study of the deal.

Four Canadian regions – Alberta, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and Ontario – have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop their SMR industry as the new technology moves further towards commercialization. 

NNL, DNV look at hydrogen

Britain’s National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and Norwegian independent expert in assurance and risk management DNV are joining forces to look at how nuclear may be used for the conversion of the country’s gas networks to hydrogen, NNL said in a statement.

The collaboration, ‘Nuclear Derived Hydrogen to Gas Networks’, will look for evidence to back government policy decisions on how hydrogen will play a role in British energy in buildings and heating, scheduled for 2026, NNL said.

The study is funded by the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and will form part of the Advanced Nuclear Skills and Innovation Campus (ANSIC) pilot, located at NNL’s Preston Laboratory.

“This project paves the way for nuclear to support climate change mitigation across home heating, industry and transportation and we are excited about how our collaboration with DNV can drive the pace of change required to meet our clean energy goals,” said Paul Howarth, Chief Executive Officer at the NNL.

Nuclear power operators looking to mitigate high costs are considering fitting plants to produce hydrogen which is increasingly seen as an essential fuel to power a future, carbon-free economy.

However, to achieve the transition to hydrogen, large quantities of the gas would be needed, and nuclear operators have argued that nuclear must be included with wind farms and solar power plants for a running ‘green hydrogen’ economy.

Britain selects HTGR for demo project

The British government has selected the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) for its Advanced Modular Reactor Demonstration Programme, the Minister for Business, Energy, and Clean Growth Greg Hands said during a speech at the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual conference.

“Following evaluation of responses received, I’m pleased to announce today that we will focus on HTGRs as the technology choice for the program moving forward – with the ambition for this to lead to a demonstration by the early 2030s,” Hands said.

A ‘call for evidence’ on the Nuclear Innovation and Research Office’s (NIRO) Advanced Modular Reactors Technical assessment in July concluded that the HTGR had the greatest potential to support the government’s zero-emissions pledge.

HTGRs are close to being technologically ready, operate under high temperatures which would provide greater versatility in the applications they could support, could be considered an evolution of advanced gas reactors, of which Britain has experience, and include concepts such as passive safety, NIRO said.

“Following announcements already made on financing for the next stage of the Rolls-Royce SMR program and the proposed Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill to make large-scale plants more achievable, the UK is primed once more to be a global leader in nuclear technologies - large, small, and advanced,” chief executive officer at NNL Paul Howarth said.

Rosatom, Framatome sign cooperation accord

Russia’s Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation and French nuclear reactor company Framatome have signed a long-term cooperative agreement to expand the two companies’ work on fuel fabrication and instrumentation and control (I&C) technologies, Rosatom and Framatome said.

CEO of Framatome Bernard Fontana and Rosatom’s Director General Alexey Likhachev signed the agreement during the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris early December.

The new accord expands on the companies’ MoU signed in 2017 and creates a framework for joint work in new areas, Framatome said.

“By working closely with our industrial partner Rosatom, we strengthen our contributions for safe and reliable generation of clean energy generated by our customers nuclear operating plants,” said Fontana. 

By Reuters Events Nuclear