WILMINGTON, NC and BELLEVUE, WA — January 21, 2020 — GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and TerraPower have announced a collaboration to pursue a Public-Private Partnership to design and construct the Versatile Test Reactor (VTR) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The two companies recently submitted a joint response to an Expression of Interest issued by the Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) on behalf of the DOE which seeks stakeholders interested in forming a partnership for a cost-sharing arrangement to design and construct the VTR utilizing sodium fast reactor technology.
“This collaboration brings together a strong team of engineers and scientists which has considerable expertise in sodium reactor technology,” said Jay Wileman, President & CEO of GEH. “The combined team has complementary and unique experience with the credibility to lead the VTR design, procurement and construction effort. We are excited to work with TerraPower on such an important project.”
“To achieve nuclear energy’s full potential, business and government must work together to invest in both testing new materials and demonstrating advanced technologies,” said Chris Levesque, TerraPower CEO. “America’s nuclear workforce is ready to build next generation nuclear technology to deliver affordable, clean energy, and to reestablish American leadership in nuclear technology. The VTR offers a domestic platform for innovation that promotes American economic and national security.”
Energy Northwest, a utility consortium with nuclear power plant operating experience, will support the joint GEH-TerraPower effort. Additional companies and investors have expressed interest in being part of this effort and, if brought on board, will be named later.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy established the VTR program to introduce fast neutron spectrum technology that does not currently exist in the U.S. and to support accelerated development of nuclear fuels and materials for advanced reactors.
In November 2018, BEA selected GEH and its PRISM technology to support the VTR program. Since then GEH has been actively engaged in development of the VTR conceptual design. TerraPower has supported the VTR program by making enhancements to the VTR’s design and has invested ten years of sodium technology development into its traveling wave reactor.
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.
TerraPower is a leading nuclear innovation company that strives to improve the world through nuclear energy and science. TerraPower has emerged as an incubator and developer of ideas and technologies that offer energy independence, environmental sustainability, medical advancement and other cutting-edge opportunities. It accepts and tackles some of the world’s most difficult challenges.
Behind each of its innovations, technologies and programs, TerraPower actively works to bring together the strengths and experiences of the world’s public and private nuclear research and energy sectors. This approach takes root in our original impetus: TerraPower was founded when Bill Gates and a group of like-minded visionaries decided that the private sector needed to take action in developing advanced nuclear technology to solve the dual challenges of energy poverty and climate change.