Babcock & Wilcox to Develop and Deploy Scalable Nuclear Reactor
McDermott International, Inc., announced today that its subsidiary, The Babcock & Wilcox Company ("B&W"), intends to develop and deploy a North American-manufactured, scalable nuclear reactor relying upon more than 50 years of its continuous reactor engineering and manufacturing.
The B&W mPower reactor design is a passively safe Advanced Light Water Reactor ("ALWR") with a below-ground containment structure. This optimized ALWR will represent Generation III++ nuclear technology that B&W believes can be certified, manufactured and operated within today's existing U.S. regulatory, industrial supply chain and utility operational infrastructure.
This new reactor will incorporate important design and operational attributes that should make it attractive for both existing nuclear operating utilities as well as other customers seeking to diversify their power generation portfolio. The scalable nature of nuclear plants built around the B&W mPower reactor would provide customers with power increments of 125 MWe to meet local energy needs within power grid and plant site constraints. B&W expects the use of proven ALWR design features, together with a passive safety philosophy, to minimize plant licensing challenges, enhance safety performance and contribute to reliable plant operation.
The Nuclear Steam Supply System is expected to be manufactured in existing B&W facilities in North America and then rail-shipped to the power plants' construction sites. The planned five-year operating cycle without refueling is intended to provide a low-cost approach to plant operations. Nuclear security and near-term management of used fuel would be improved through the underground containment design that accommodates storage of fuel for the planned 60-year life of the reactor.
"As we reviewed the best way to align B&W's nuclear manufacturing, engineering and licensing expertise with the emerging needs of the commercial nuclear renaissance, it was clear that we could lead the scalable, modular reactor field," said Brandon Bethards, Chief Executive Officer of B&W. "We have attracted substantial customer interest as we progress through important product configuration decisions. We believe this reactor will offer a practical, affordable near-term solution to the world's growing demand for the clean, zero-emission base load power."
B&W has notified the NRC of its intent to submit an application for design certification of the reactor in 2011. A global team of potential customers has been assembled to support the development of the reactor to ensure it meets customer and regulatory requirements in North America, Europe and elsewhere. A Letter of Intent has been received from Tennessee Valley Authority ("TVA") to begin the process of evaluating a potential lead plant site for the B&W mPower reactor. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by B&W, TVA and a consortium of regional municipal and cooperative utilities to explore the construction of a fleet of B&W mPower reactors to meet the consortium's need to diversify its power generation assets.
B&W has formed a new business unit, B&W Modular Nuclear Energy, LLC, to lead the development, licensing and delivery of B&W mPower reactor projects.
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