WILMINGTON, NC-October 31, 2016-GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Southern Nuclear have agreed to collaborate in studying the development and licensing of advanced reactors including GEH’s PRISM sodium-cooled fast reactor design.
“Southern Nuclear’s operational experience, technical expertise and leadership in innovation are significant strengths that will benefit our work together to support the commercialization of advanced nuclear reactor technology,” said Jay Wileman, president and CEO, GEH. “With a design that can extract energy from used nuclear fuel to generate electricity, our PRISM advanced reactor technology is a game-changer.”
In a Memorandum of Understanding signed by GEH and Southern Nuclear Development, a subsidiary of Southern Nuclear Operating Company, the companies have also agreed to work together toward participating in future U.S. Department of Energy advanced reactor licensing projects.
“The relationship with GE Hitachi is an exciting step on our continued journey towards maintaining nuclear energy’s key position in providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy for future generations,” said Stephen Kuczynski, chairman, president and CEO, Southern Nuclear. “We are fully committed to moving the industry forward, and by pursuing this goal together, we are best able to leverage our combined strengths in research and commercial operations to bring advanced nuclear technology to market.”
PRISM is a sodium-cooled, high energy neutron (fast) reactor design which uses a series of proven, safe and mature technologies developed both in the U.S. and abroad. The PRISM design has benefited from the operating experience of EBR-II, an integral fast reactor prototype which was developed by Argonne National Laboratory and operated for more than 30 years in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
GEH believes that no U.S. fast spectrum reactor technology has more testing, design or operational experience than PRISM. On this basis, PRISM seems well positioned to continue the licensing process and to generally provide a critical regulatory path for licensing of other advanced reactor technology in the U.S.
According to an analysis performed by GEH, which assumes a quantity of 178,000 metric tons of nuclear material contained in used fuel stocks worldwide, by using PRISM technology on a commercialized basis, all the world’s used fuel could eventually be consumed while at the same time providing enough clean, carbon-free energy to power all global households, (estimated at approximately 1.6 billion living units) for as long as 200 years, based on a per household consumption of 3,400 kWh/year.
About GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
Based in Wilmington, N.C., GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety. Follow GEH on LinkedIn and Twitter @gehnuclear.
About Southern Nuclear
Southern Nuclear, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), is a leader among the nation's nuclear energy facility operators and an innovator in advanced nuclear technologies. Southern Nuclear is an essential part of Southern Company's energy portfolio, and its importance will continue to grow as America transitions to a low-carbon energy future. While the company produces clean, safe and reliable nuclear energy, it's also an economic engine powered by quality jobs and community service. Southern Nuclear operates a total of six units for Alabama Power and Georgia Power at the Joseph M. Farley Nuclear Plant near Dothan, Ala.; the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley, Ga.; and the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant near Waynesboro, Ga. Southern Nuclear is the licensee of two new nuclear units currently under construction at Plant Vogtle that are among the first nuclear units being constructed in the United States in more than 30 years. Southern Nuclear has received numerous accolades in 2016 for leadership in the advancement of nuclear energy including the Special Achievement Award by the United States Nuclear Infrastructure Council and the Presidential Citation by the American Nuclear Society. Southern Nuclear also received two of the Nuclear Energy Institute's Top Innovative Practice awards and a special recognition for achieving excellence in research and performance. Southern Nuclear's Plant Hatch received the ANS Operations & Power Division's Utility Achievement Award for plant improvements that resulted in a record-setting refueling outage duration. The company's headquarters is in Birmingham, Ala.
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