New Brunswick awards additional funding for SMR development

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs announces C$20 million in funding for the ARC-100 small modular reactor. Photo: ARC Canada

The Canadian province of New Brunswick has awarded C$20 million (about $15.7 million) to ARC Clean Energy Canada (ARC Canada) to support the development of the proposed ARC-100 advanced small modular reactor. The premier of New Brunswick, Blaine Higgs, announced the award during his state of the province address on February 10.

ARC Canada, headquartered in Saint John, New Brunswick, is a subsidiary of U.S.-based ARC Clean Energy, formerly known as Advanced Reactor Concepts. The company’s ARC-100 is a 100-MWe integrated sodium-cooled fast reactor that uses a metallic uranium alloy fuel. Based on Argonne National Laboratory’s Experimental Breeder Reactor-II, the reactor is designed to operate for 20-plus years without refueling.

In October 2019, ARC Canada announced that it had completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s (CNSC) vendor design review. (While the phase-one assessment provides detailed feedback regarding a vendor’s understanding of the CNSC’s requirements for a nuclear power plant in Canada, it does not certify the design or license the reactor.)

GE Hitachi SMR reaches U.S. licensing milestone

A cutaway view of the BWRX-300. Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a final safety evaluation report for the first of several licensing topical reports (LTR) submitted by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) for the BWRX-300 small modular reactor, the company announced on December 1.

The initial LTR, titled “BWRX-300 Reactor Pressure Vessel Isolation and Overpressure Protection,” was submitted to the NRC in December 2019, officially beginning the U.S. licensing process. This LTR forms the basis for the “dramatic simplification” of the BWRX-300, according to GEH.

In its announcement, GEH noted that two additional LTRs were submitted in early 2020 and that it anticipates reviews of those reports to be completed in the coming months. A fourth LTR was submitted in September 2020, the company added.