U.S. utility Constellation Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding with ULC-Energy, an Amsterdam-based nuclear development company, to support deployment of a fleet of Rolls-Royce small modular reactors in the Netherlands.
Owner and operator of the largest reactor fleet in the United States—with 21 units at 12 nuclear plants—Constellation is a minority shareholder in Rolls-Royce SMR.
Signers’ language: “Constellation is committed to a carbon-free future and has for many years supported nuclear developers in the United States and internationally,” said Ralph Hunter, president of Constellation Generation Development. “The Constellation nuclear management model is widely regarded within the industry as a benchmark for world-class nuclear power operations, and we are excited with the opportunity to work with both ULC-Energy and Rolls-Royce SMR to ensure the safe and reliable development and operation of Rolls-Royce SMRs in the Netherlands.”
Dirk Rabelink, ULC-Energy’s managing director, noted the value to his company of Constellation’s “deep operational experience,” adding, “Having worked closely with Constellation and its predecessor Exelon Generation since 2005, I am confident that our cooperation will be fruitful.”
Background: Last month, ULC-Energy signed an exclusive agreement with Rolls-Royce SMR to build the British firm’s reactors in the Netherlands.
In March of this year, the U.K. government’s Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) asked regulators—including the U.K. Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency, and Natural Resources Wales—to begin a generic design assessment (GDA) of Rolls-Royce SMR’s 470-MWe SMR design.
The request was made after BEIS conducted a readiness review of the company’s GDA application, submitted in November 2021. That review, ONR said in a March 7 announcement, “concluded that the design is ready to enter the GDA process.” ONR added that the GDA “will begin once the necessary arrangement around timescales and resources have been put in place.”
A GDA is performed to gauge the safety, security, and environmental protection aspects of a nuclear plant design. Successfully completing the assessment culminates in a design acceptance confirmation from ONR and a statement of design acceptability from the Environment Agency.