X-energy, Alberta explore opportunities to support SMR projects

February 7, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

X-energy Canada, a subsidiary of U.S. mall modular reactor and fuel technology company X-energy, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Invest Alberta Corporation (IAC) to develop economic opportunities in support of the potential deployment of the Xe-100 SMR in the western Canadian province. (Alberta is one of four provinces behind last year’s A Strategic Plan for the Deployment of SMRs—a document that maps the path to capitalizing on the benefits of advanced reactor deployment.)

How can SMRs fit energy and climate priorities for industry?

February 1, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear NewsEdward Stones

Edward Stones

At my company, Dow, we understand and embrace our responsibility to reduce global carbon emissions. With that said, the challenge to decarbonize is significant but achievable. To give you a sense of the scale required for us to decarbonize in order to make our products, we produce more than 7 GW of power and steam that fire more than 50 gas and steam turbines and boilers. Moreover, we have more than 100 furnaces at 30 major manufacturing sites worldwide.

Dow has already reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent since 2005, and we are on track to reduce emissions another 15 percent by the end of the decade on our path to carbon neutrality by 2050. Our use of clean energy has contributed significantly to our current progress, as we are one of the top 20 users of renewable energy among global corporations, having secured more than 900 MW of renewable power. While we will continue to pursue renewable energy, there’s a limitation in the ability for renewables to support our decarbonization efforts.

Contract for Darlington SMR project signed

January 27, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
A rendering of the BWRX-300 small modular reactor. (Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Wilmington, N.C.–based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Canadian firms Ontario Power Generation, SNC-Lavalin, and Aecon announced this morning the signing of a contract for the deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at OPG’s Darlington nuclear site in Canada. According to the announcement, it is the first commercial contract for a grid-scale SMR in North America.

Looking back at 2022—July through September

January 5, 2023, 12:12PMNuclear News

Another calendar year has passed. Before heading too far into 2023, let’s look back at what happened in 2022 for the American Nuclear Society and the nuclear community. In today's post that follows, we have compiled from Nuclear News and Nuclear Newswire what we feel are the top nuclear news stories from July through September 2022.

Stay tuned this week for the top stories from the rest of the past year.

But first:

NRC accepts TRISO-X application for 30-month review, with RAIs on deck

December 21, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of the proposed TRISO-X World Headquarters and Commercial Fuel Facility at the Horizon Center Industrial Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn. (Image: X-energy)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted an application from X-energy's fuel subsidiary, TRISO-X LLC, for a proposed TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility (TF3) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., X-energy announced last week. A 30-month review schedule has been developed by the NRC that would be completed by June 2025, assuming TRISO-X provides sufficient responses to expected requests for additional information (RAIs) within 30 to 60 days of their issuance. On December 16, the NRC announced that it would seek public input on the scope of its environmental review and environmental impact statement for the application and published a notice in the Federal Register.

X-energy to become publicly traded company

December 12, 2022, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe

X-energy, a developer of small modular reactors and nuclear fuel technology, has entered into a definitive business combination agreement with Ares Acquisition Corporation (AAC). As a result of the agreement, X-energy will become a publicly traded company, a status that is expected to boost its growth strategy, investment opportunities, and financial flexibility. In addition, X-energy will receive differentiated sponsorship by Ares Management Corporation, which describes itself as a “leading global alternative investment manager.” The transaction is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2023.

Ontario’s SMR plans for Darlington advance

December 7, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Representatives of OPG and GEH join Ontario government officials on December 2 to mark the start of site preparations for the Darlington SMR project. (Photo: Doug Ford via Twitter)

The Ontario government has announced the start of site preparation at the Darlington nuclear power plant for Canada’s first grid-scale small modular reactor: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH) BWRX-300.

Two reports agree: Diverse advanced reactor fuel cycles can succeed

November 23, 2022, 6:39AMNuclear News

Advanced reactors and small modular reactors with strikingly different coolants and sizes offer an array of different benefits, but when it comes to fuel cycle issues, including spent fuel and waste, they have a lot in common with conventional light water reactors. Two reports released within the last week—a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) consensus committee report two years in the making and a Department of Energy study released by Argonne National Laboratory—address the timely topic of advanced reactor fuel cycle issues. While the NASEM committee ventured to define research and infrastructure needs to support the entire nuclear power fuel cycle, inclusive of new technologies, for decades to come, the DOE report compares the front- and back-end fuel cycle metrics of three reactor designs (from NuScale Power, TerraPower, and X-energy) that have been selected for DOE cost-share–funded demonstrations within this decade. Together, these reports provide assurance that the fuel cycle needs of a fleet of new reactors can be met and point to near-term research and planning needs.

Coal-to-nuclear conversion: Opportunities and challenges

November 10, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
ANS's “Powering Our Future: The Coal to Nuclear Opportunity” panel discussion featured (top left, clockwise) Jessica Lovering, Patrick Burke, Kenya Stump, Andrew Griffith, Christine King, and Carol Lane. (ANS screenshot)

Since at least June of last year—when TerraPower and PacifiCorp announced plans to site the Natrium reactor demonstration project at one of Wyoming’s retiring coal plants—the concept of repurposing those plants to host nuclear reactors has been a popular topic of conversation among the energy cognoscenti.

Canada invests nearly C$1 billion in OPG’s SMR project at Darlington

October 27, 2022, 6:56AMNuclear News
Artist’s rendering of a BWRX-300 plant. (Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy)

Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has finalized an agreement with Ontario Power Generation, committing C$970 million (about $715 million) to Canada’s first small modular reactor, to be located at OPG’s Darlington nuclear power plant in Clarington, Ontario.

A state-owned enterprise founded in 2017, CIB is charged with financially supporting revenue-generating infrastructure projects in the public interest via public-private partnerships. The agreement with OPG is the bank’s largest investment in clean power to date, according to a Tuesday joint announcement.

Just add HALEU: TerraPower and GNF-A break ground on fast reactor fuel facility

October 26, 2022, 9:21AMNuclear News
Natrium Fuel Facility groundbreaking. (Photo: GNF-A)

Global Nuclear Fuel–Americas (GNF-A) and TerraPower announced their plans to build a Natrium fuel fabrication facility next to GNF-A’s existing fuel plant near Wilmington, N.C, on October 21. While more than 50 years of fuel fabrication at the site have supported the boiling water reactor designs of GE (GNF-A’s majority owner) and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), the Natrium Fuel Facility will produce metallic high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel for the sodium fast reactor—Natrium—that TerraPower is developing with GEH.

TRISO-X breaks ground on Oak Ridge fuel facility as licensing work continues

October 17, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News
Government officials and representatives of X-energy and its TRISO-X subsidiary at the October 13 groundbreaking. (Photo: X-energy)

Leaders of X-energy and its TRISO-X subsidiary gathered on October 13 to break ground at the site of what X-energy bills as “North America’s first commercial-scale advanced nuclear fuel facility” in Oak Ridge, Tenn. X-energy expects the TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility (TF3) to create more than 400 jobs and to be commissioned and operational by 2025.

OPG, ČEZ to work together on SMR deployment

October 14, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News
From left: Czech Republic deputy minister of industry and trade Petr Třešňák, ČEZ’s Tomáš Pleskač, OPG’s Ken Hartwick, Ontario minister of energy Todd Smith, and Canadian ambassador to the Czech Republic Ayesha Patricia Rekhi. (Photo: CNW Group/Ontario Power Generation)

Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and Czech Republic–based ČEZ have agreed to collaborate on nuclear technology deployment, including small modular reactors, under a memorandum of understanding signed yesterday in Prague.

Ontario’s largest electricity generator and the European energy giant have both pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

GAO finds nuclear demo best practices could set new standard for clean energy projects

October 3, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s management of its commercial-scale reactor demonstration projects has “generally been consistent with requirements to address risk,” according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report published recently. The GAO found that the DOE has met existing project management requirements, and that the two offices managing the awards—the Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations (OCED)—plan to introduce additional project management tools, such as external independent reviews. The GAO recommended that the DOE adopt those plans as institutional best practices for other large energy projects, and the DOE concurred.

Curtiss-Wright, X-energy team up to advance Xe-100 deployment

September 21, 2022, 9:30AMNuclear News

Curtiss-Wright Corporation and small modular reactor developer X-energy have announced the signing of a preferred strategic supplier agreement to advance the design and deployment of the latter’s Xe-100 SMR.

“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat”

September 7, 2022, 7:01AMNuclear NewsCraig Piercy

Craig Piercy

Everyone knows the iconic scene in the classic 1975 movie Jaws when Chief Brody, played by Roy Scheider, is chumming the waters off the coast of Cape Cod and finds himself face-to-face with a 25-foot great white shark for the first time. As you will remember, the scene cuts to Brody shuffling into the boat’s cabin, turning to Quint—the salty captain played by Robert Shaw—and saying rather dryly, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

That image, of someone confronting the true scope of their challenge, is the thing that kept creeping into my mind as I walked the expo floor of the 2022 Utility Working Conference held on Marco Island, Fla., last month.

Yes, the excitement was palpable. The Inflation Reduction Act was cruising toward enactment with $30–40 billion in new nuclear-eligible clean energy tax incentives in its berth. Dow had just announced its intention to partner with X-energy to site a high-temperature gas reactor at one of its Gulf Coast manufacturing facilities.

Perfecting the public-private partnership: Is X-energy leading the way?

August 24, 2022, 3:00PMNuclear News

X-energy has been having a good year. Not only did Dow announce plans to invest in the company’s high-temperature gas reactor (HTGR) technology and deploy an Xe-100 reactor at a U.S. Gulf Coast facility for power and process heat by 2030, in parallel with the Xe-100 demo planned for Washington state with support from the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), but X-energy’s fuel subsidiary, TRISO-X, has applied for a fuel facility license and aims to have a commercial fuel plant operating in 2025, and Canadian provinces are signaling their interest in the technology. And while news of Dow’s investment broke with well-deserved fanfare, the company’s serious interest in HTGRs—and federal support for HTGR development—goes way back.

X-energy, DOW to collaborate on SMR deployment

August 9, 2022, 12:27PMNuclear News

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.

Breaking news: Dow, X-energy sign letter of intent for SMR

August 9, 2022, 12:26PMNuclear News

X-energy and Dow announced today a collaboration with intent to deploy an advanced small modular reactor at one of Dow’s U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The SMR, which would be operable by about 2030, would provide heat and power to the Dow facility.

The announcement was made at the American Nuclear Society's Utility Working Conference and Vendor Technology Expo (UWC 2022), being held through August 10 at Marco Island, Fla.

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.