Wilmington, N.C., March 9, 2011— GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced its next-generation reactor model, the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, has received a positive final safety evaluation report and final design approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The approval constitutes a finding by the NRC staff that the ESBWR design is safe and all technical issues have been resolved. It clears the way for the ESBWR to be built in countries around the world that recognize the FDA of a reactor design as acceptance by the "country of origin."
The NRC's positive FSER clears the path for GEH's ESBWR to receive the agency's final design certification in the fall of 2011, providing regulatory finality of the ESBWR design in the United States.
Michigan utility DTE Energy has selected the ESBWR design for a potential reactor project next to its existing Fermi 2 plant south of Detroit. The NRC is currently reviewing DTE Energy's license application for the Fermi 3 project, which serves as the "reference combined license application" for the ESBWR design.
The ESBWR is GEH's newest reactor design that offers advanced passive safety systems, simplified construction and operation, as well as low core damage frequency.
A single ESBWR project would create several thousand construction jobs and several hundred permanent engineering positions while also creating opportunities for local equipment and service vendors.
One of those key commercial prospects is India, which as part of its massive nuclear energy expansion program has identified a site that would feature multiple GEH ESBWR reactors.