GE and DTE Energy team up to advance ESBWR detailed design

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and DTE Energy announced plans to explore advancing the detailed design of the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR).

In May, DTE Energy received the first-ever ESBWR-based combined construction and operating license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). DTE has not made a commitment to build, but is keeping the option open, given the long-term environmental and economic advantages of nuclear power.

“DTE and GEH will further expand our cooperation by determining resource requirements and developing plans to advance the ESBWR design, enabling DTE Energy to be in a position to more readily begin work should the utility decide at a later date to add more carbon-free, base load power to its energy mix,” GE Hitachi Chief Operations Officer Jay Wileman said. “We view this as a very positive and important step in the continued commercialization of the world’s safest reactor.”

With its advanced, true passive safety systems, the ESBWR is the world’s safest approved nuclear reactor design based on core damage frequency. The reactor can cool itself for more than seven days with no on-site or off-site AC power or operator action, uses approximately 25 percent fewer pumps and mechanical drives than reactors with active safety systems and offers the lowest projected operating, maintenance and staffing costs in the nuclear industry on a per-kilowatt basis.

Dominion Virginia Power has also selected the ESBWR as their technology of choice for a potential third reactor at the North Anna site. That project is expected to be licensed by the NRC next year.