NRC hearing gives information on X-energy, Dow project

February 29, 2024, 9:31AMNuclear News
A digital rendering of the Dow/X-energy Xe-100 plant in Texas. (Image: X-energy)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted a public meeting earlier this month for community members to learn more about X-energy’s plans to build small modular reactors at a Dow Chemical plant on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

The hearing is a required step in the NRC’s review of X-energy’s construction permit, and the aim is to educate local residents about the licensing process Dow and X-energy must complete before building nuclear reactors.

The project: X-energy announced plans in 2023 to build four Xe-100 small modular reactors at a Dow industrial site in Seadrift, Texas. Dow’s facility produces a vast array of products, including food packaging and preservation, footwear, wire and cable installation, and packaging for medical and pharmaceutical products.

The Xe-100 is a high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor that will provide both power and steam heat for Dow’s industrial production facility, giving the manufacturing plant a zero-carbon footprint. Referred to as Project Long Mott, the Xe-100s at Seadrift is poised to be the first grid-scale advanced nuclear reactor at an industrial site in North America.

The SMRs in Texas are expected to go on line within the decade. X-energy hopes to replicate the plant design at other industrial sites across the United States in coming years.

What’s next: During the public hearing, Adrian Muñiz, senior licensing project manager for the U.S. Regulatory Commission on Project Long Mott, highlighted how the process of constructing the nuclear reactor is still in the preapplication stage.

The application process includes a multitude of different avenues before the NRC reaches a final decision on approval.

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