GE/Lockheed Venture to Design Nuclear Reactor Controls

Feb. 17, 2011
Project supports, advances new-model reactor for U.S. construction

General Electric continues its aggressive expansion into the industrial energy sector with an agreement between its GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy subsidiary and Lockheed Martin to design and build the digital control systems and nuclear reactors.

The agreement will see Lockheed Martin’s nuclear systems and solutions (NS&S) division design and manufacture the main reactor control room systems for GE Hitachi Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR). GEH designs BWR technology and services those systems worldwide.

The projected value of the agreement has not been reported.

In recent months, General Electric has acquired Dresser Inc., a manufacturer of equipment and components used in oil and gas transport, and Lineage Power Holdings Inc., which makes equipment that converts alternating current to direct current, as well as power-module and data-center systems. It has bid to take over Wellstream Holdings plc, which engineers and manufactures flexible subsea pipeline products, and it purchased Calnetix Power Solutions’ industrial waste-heat recovery processes, for electrical generation.

Earlier this week GE’s Oil & Gas business entered into an agreement to acquire the Well Support division of John Wood Group plc.

The ESBWR is a candidate for certification by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission as a “next generation” model reactor for construction at U.S. power plants. Recently, the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) recommended it for approval. USNCR is expected to complete its final rule making of the design later this year.

GEH’s Generation III+ ESBWR incorporates passive safety and natural circulation features, as well as a fully qualified, digital I&C system. The technology is based on GE’s ABWR, which was NRC-certified in 1997 and is the only Generation III or higher technology in commercial operation today.

GEH and DTE Energy are collaborating on an ESBWR project nearby the Fermi 2 nuclear plant, near Detroit.

Most of Lockheed Martin’s design and production work for the reactor controls will be performed at its design engineering and manufacturing facilities in Archbald, Pa., and Dallas, Tex. Simulation and training support will be provided in Orlando, Fla.

In addition to main controls packages, Lockheed Martin also will provide GEH with related simulation and training support, services, and replacement equipment.

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