GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has been awarded £33.6 million to develop its small modular reactor for the UK market.
GE Hitachi was awarded the funding from the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund towards the costs of the first two steps of the generic design assessment (GDA) for its BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR).
“We believe our BWRX-300 small modular reactor is an ideal solution for the UK’s decarbonisation and energy security goals, and we appreciate the UK government making this FNEF grant available to help demonstrate this,” said Jay Wileman, president & CEO of GE Hitachi. “We have assembled a first-class team to deliver the BWRX-300 in the UK and this FNEF grant will help accelerate regulatory acceptance and its deployment readiness while we continue to develop a robust UK supply chain.”
The funding bid was supported by UK suppliers including Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke and Cavendish Nuclear, along with Polish investor Synthos Green Energy. GE Hitachi has previously announced a memorandum of understanding with Sheffield Forgemasters for a potential supply agreement for UK-sourced steel forgings.
The BWRX-300 is a 300MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR, with passive safety systems adapted from the US-licenced ESBWR. It is on the shortlist of six SMR designs currently being considered for UK deployment by Great British Nuclear.
The £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund was announced in 2021 to support the development of advanced reactor designs, and is managed by the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero (DESNZ). DESNZ announced a first award of £30 million to Holtec in December 2023.
The GDA process is managed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) and Environment Agency, and is intended to support the construction of a number of new nuclear power stations by approving a standard reactor design which can be built in different locations by different developers. Each build will still require a site-specific licence.