GEH to pursue development of its small module nuclear reactor technology at DOE site

Source: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, (SRNS) announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore the potential of deploying a prototype of GEH's Generation IV PRISM reactor as part of a proposed demonstration of small modular reactor technologies at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Savannah River Site. 

The MOU sets the stage for continued discussions on the potential NRC licensing and deployment of a 299-megawatt (MW) PRISM reactor at the federally owned facility. SRNS is the management and operating contractor for DOE at Savannah River Site (SRS). 

"This is another step that can put SRS and the region in an important role toward transforming America's energy future," said Garry Flowers, president and CEO of SRNS. "We are very pleased to collaborate with GEH to determine the suitability of deploying a prototype Generation IV PRISM reactor at SRS. We believe that SRS is an ideal place to demonstrate the PRISM reactor design as it, and other next generation, small modular reactors, are being considered for the future." 

"Successful deployment of this reactor technology could help the United States be a leader in advanced, small modular reactor technologies and assist in achieving an important goal of the Obama administration for U.S. energy independence," Flowers said. 

The PRISM reactor design, which completed U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission pre-application reviews in 1994, is an advanced, Generation IV reactor technology that builds on our nation's research and development of sodium cooled reactors. A key attribute of PRISM technology is that it generates additional electricity from recycling used nuclear fuel. 

"Working with SRNS towards the possibility of implementing our Generation IV PRISM reactor design is a major step," said Caroline Reda, president and CEO of GEH. "We look forward to continuing discussions with SRNS on advanced modular reactor technologies, especially if they help the U.S. to maintain its global leadership role in nuclear technology." 

SRNS has been actively working with industry and stakeholder groups on the development of energy security initiatives for DOE to consider at SRS. "We think PRISM can be ideally suited to support one of the SRNS initiatives, as PRISM technology has the potential to address many of the nuclear fuel challenges we face today," Reda said. 

Dr. Terry Michalske, director of the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL), will provide executive direction for SRNS activities along with Dr. Tom Sanders, SRNL's newest Associate Laboratory Director. 

"This is a natural fit with the mission at Savannah River Site and the expertise that exists in the National Lab," Michalske said. "I think there are many reasons to be excited and optimistic about the potential application of small, modular reactors for the region and the world, and I look forward to seeing these discussions mature."

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