Small modular reactor developer X-energy and materials science giant Dow this morning announced the signing of a letter of intent aimed at deploying X-energy’s Xe-100 reactor technology at one of Dow’s U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The companies expect the SMR plant, which would provide power and process heat to the Dow facility, to be operational by approximately 2030.
Dow is the first manufacturer to declare its intention to develop SMR technology options and intends to take a minority equity stake in X-energy, according to the announcement.
News of the collaboration broke at the American Nuclear Society’s Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo, being held through August 10 at Marco Island, Fla.
Signers’ language: “Nuclear energy has always offered the promise of broad economy-wide decarbonization,” said Clay Sell, X-energy chief executive officer, in a joint press release. “Today’s announcement marks an important step in turning that aspiration into reality. Dow has a remarkable 125-year history of bringing innovative solutions to the market, and their leadership is a critical driver in meeting decarbonization goals in the energy intensive industrial sector. X-energy is proud to combine our leading nuclear technology with Dow’s production capabilities to deliver a global materials supply chain that is safer, cleaner, and greener than ever before.”
Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and CEO, stated, “Advanced small modular nuclear technology is going to be a critical tool for Dow’s path to zero-carbon emissions and our ability to drive growth by delivering low-carbon products to our customers. X-energy’s technology is among the most advanced, and when deployed will deliver safe, reliable, low-carbon power and steam. This is a great opportunity for Dow to lead our industry in carbon-neutral manufacturing by deploying next-generation nuclear energy.”
The tech: The Xe-100 unit is an 80-MWe high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor that can be scaled into a four-pack 320-MWe power plant. As a pebble bed HTGR, it would use TRISO particles encased in graphite pebbles as the fuel and helium as the coolant. Capable of providing high-temperature steam at 565°C as well as electricity, the Xe-100 could enable decarbonization of industrial end-use applications, including oil sands operations, mining applications, and other industrial processes.
In case you missed it: X-energy and Ontario Power Generation signed a framework agreement on July 12 to pursue opportunities to deploy Xe-100s for industrial applications in Canada.
And on July 26, X-energy Canada announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Saskatchewan Industrial and Mining Suppliers Association to support the potential deployment of the Xe-100. (SIMSA represents more than 300 member companies in Saskatchewan, from the manufacturing, construction, engineering, mining, and energy sectors.)
According to that announcement, the parties will explore opportunities to build supply chain capacity in Saskatchewan, helping the province capitalize on the potential benefits of Xe-100 deployment.