General Electric
Illustration of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor.

GE Contracted for Small Modular Reactor in Canada

Jan. 30, 2023
The GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy partnership is in line to build the first SMR in North America for Ontario Power Generation, promising to install is net-zero carbon BWRX-300 reactor by 2028.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is leading a design and construction consortium now under contract to build a small modular reactor for an Ontario electric utility, for what they report will be the first “grid-scale SMR in North America.” The consortium also includes Ontario Power Generation, SNC-Lavalin and Aecon Group, and aims to install GEH’s BWRX-300 reactor at an OPG site in Clarington, Ont., reportedly by 2028.

Financial and other terms of the contract – which covers design, engineering licensing support, construction, testing, training and commissioning – have not been revealed.

Small modular reactor is the name for a type of nuclear power plant conceived to have a generating capacity of up to 300 MW(e), which is about one-third of the power produced by a traditional nuclear power reactor, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. The concept aims to appeal to utility firms and regulators because it promises to produce large amounts of electricity without carbon emissions, and with construction and operation costs below other nuclear-power generating technologies.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is a venture formed in 2007 that supplies reactors and nuclear services worldwide. Its BWRX-300 process is based on licensed reactor technology and proven components, according to the developer, and uses a combination of fuel available in operating reactors, so it does not require high-assay low-enriched uranium.

The same technology is being evaluated by Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for potential installation at the Clinch River Site near Oak Ridge, Tenn. Also, Saskatchewan’s SaskPower last June selected the BWRX-300 for potential deployment in the mid-2030s.

GEH will design the Ontario Power Generation reactor and provide engineering licensing support, construction, testing, training and commissioning.

“This contract is an important milestone and solidifies our position as the leading SMR technology provider,” stated GEH president and CEO Jay Wileman. “We aim to deliver the first SMR in North America and, in doing so, lead the start of a new era of nuclear power that will provide zero-emission energy generation, energy security and energy reliability around the globe.”

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