X-energy picks constructor collaborators

July 22, 2022, 12:09PMNuclear News

Rockville, Md.–based X-energy announced yesterday that it has selected Zachry Group and a combined team from Burns & McDonnell and Day & Zimmermann to work with the company on the next phases of design and deployment for its Xe-100 small modular reactor fleet.

According to the announcement, the firms are capable of delivering “an optimized construction schedule, standardized advanced work packages, and the latest construction techniques and digital technology.”

Under X-energy’s project delivery model, constructors and suppliers will work alongside the company in all phases of design, equipment supply, fabrication, and construction to develop detailed project costs and schedules, advanced work plans, and four-dimensional modeling prior to the start of safety-related construction.

What they’re saying: “Selecting and partnering with our constructors this early in the development process is a paradigm shift for the entire nuclear energy industry,” said Clay Sell, X-energy’s chief executive officer. “We will collaborate and work side by side with these firms to ensure the successful design and delivery of the first and subsequent Xe-100 deployments. This is one of the ways X-energy is leading the new age of nuclear energy, enabling us to deploy safely, with a more cost-effective delivery model for the benefit of our customers.”

Burns & McDonnell CEO Ray Kowalik stated that “advanced nuclear must be part of our future energy solutions as we decarbonize as a society” and that “bringing advanced construction planning into the development process is the right approach to accomplish the safety, price, schedule, and quality needed for this technology.”

Hal Yoh, Day & Zimmermann chairman and CEO, declared, “In our company’s 120-year history, we have been part of some innovative, groundbreaking projects, but this is one of the most exciting. We believe the integrated, collaborative approach that X-energy has selected is the best model for success, and we look forward to working with them and the union building trades to safely construct this revolutionary new technology.”

Also expressing enthusiasm for the collaboration was Zachry Group chairman and CEO John B. Zachry, who commented, “Zachry Group is excited to build on our relationship with the X-energy team. Supporting the design, development, and construction of the Xe-100 fleet is a critical step in decarbonization efforts. We look forward to collaborating and bringing our technology, analysis, engineering, and construction capabilities to these next generation, world-class facilities.”

The technology: The Xe-100 is an 80-MWe Generation IV high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor that can be scaled up into a four-pack 320-MWe power plant. As a pebble bed HTGR, the Xe-100 would use TRISO particles encased in graphite pebbles as the fuel and helium as the coolant. Capable of providing both high-temperature steam at 565°C and electricity, the Xe-100 could enable decarbonization of industrial end-use applications, including oil sands operations, mining applications, and other industrial processes.

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