GE Hitachi gets approval for new reactor


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy today announced it has received regulatory approval for a new reactor design.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the company’s Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) design certification.

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“Achieving design certification means the ESBWR, the world’s safest reactor, can now become a reality,” GE Hitachi president and CEO Caroline Reda said in a news release. “Design certification will not only benefit our US customers, it marks a crucial step forward for the ESBWR’s commercial advancement globally.”

A spokesman for GE Hitachi says the approval is good news for the company’s Castle Hayne facility, where it manufactures fuel for nuclear plants and supports plants through parts and service, and its 1,600 employees.

The design is approved for use in new build reactors and has already been selected for potential new nuclear plants in Virginia and Michigan. There are also plans to use the reactor for a plant in India.

GE Hitachi says the ESBWR employs advanced, true passive safety systems and a simplified design utilizing natural circulation, which result in the ability of the reactor to cool itself for more than seven days without operator intervention or AC power on or off site. Based on core damage frequency, the industry standard measure of safety, the ESBWR is the world’s safest approved nuclear reactor design, the company says.