Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor to Make Nuclear Energy an Option Again

GEH Reactor to make nuclear energy safer with advanced passive safety systems

The 1,500-MW GEH Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) may be the future in nuclear energy.

Passive systems change the game in reactor safety. Should there be a catastrophic problem or the reactors cooling systems fail, the ESBWR can cool itself for more than seven days with no on-site or off-site AC power or operator action.

The reactor uses 25 percent fewer pumps and mechanical drives than reactors with active safety systems and offers the lowest projected operating, maintenance and staffing costs in the nuclear industry on a per-kilowatt basis.

Like all nuclear reactors, the ESBWR still produces nuclear waste, but generates no C02 whatsoever.

Watch the video below for a more in-depth understanding of how it all works.

ESBWR systems make economic sense, with eight months of additional revenue over a 60 year lifetime compared to pressurized water reactors (PRW). Boiling water reactors experience on average 10 days fewer in refueling outages when compared to PRW, according to a presentation by IAEA.

The “thumbs up” for the development of the ESBWR from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was given to Michigan-based DTE Energy. DTE received a combined construction and operating license April 30.

“The potential of additional nuclear energy gives us the option of reliable, base-load generation that does not emit greenhouse gases,” said Steven Kurmas, DTE Energy’s president and chief operating officer. “With this license, DTE Energy now possesses the most diverse, comprehensive slate of options to plan for Michigan’s energy future.”

The NRC certification of the reactor’s design opens opportunities for the ESBWR to be built in commercial locations in Brazil, India, Poland and others.

What are your thoughts on the ESBWR? What pitfalls can you see hidden in the hype?

 Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

To learn more about GE Hitachi and the Economic Simplified Water Boiling Reactor, click here.