Thursday, July 15, 2010

Babcock & Wilcox Ally with Bechtel to Bring SMR to Market

The promise of Gen III small modular reactors is the promise of safe, affordable, sustainable, and scalable nuclear power. It is precisely what is needed to bring about an energy and clean-industrial renaissance to both the advanced and the developing worlds.

But to break through government bureaucracies and entrenched anti energy and anti-nuclear forces, you need some deep pockets and heavy corporate firepower. The alliance of Babcock & Wilcox with Bechtel Power Corporation creates precisely the type of staying power that is needed to get past the forces of energy starvation and political peak energy.
Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, Inc., (B&W NE) and Bechtel Power Corporation today announced they have entered into a formal alliance to design, license and deploy the world’s first commercially viable Generation III++ small modular nuclear power plant. Based on B&W mPower™ small modular reactor (SMR) technology, this new alliance, to be known as Generation mPower, brings together two recognized and established energy industry leaders in engineering, manufacturing and construction. Both Bechtel and B&W are making a substantial commitment in forming Generation mPower. B&W NE is a subsidiary of The Babcock & Wilcox Company.

As a more practical clean energy option for power generation, the 125 megawatt B&W mPower SMR development program underway for the past two years has already gained wide recognition for its substantial electric utility involvement, cost competitiveness and innovative design.

“This alliance is about two companies maintaining America’s historic leadership in the nuclear energy industry,” said Chris Mowry, president of B&W NE. “The formation of our Generation mPower alliance demonstrates a new level of commitment by American industry to address the growing challenge of climate change in an economical and practical way with small modular reactor technology. It brings together industry leaders in the areas of nuclear technology, manufacturing and construction. We believe that Generation mPower positions us to collectively deliver greater certainty in nuclear project cost and schedule, which are necessary to enable broader, more timely deployment of nuclear power.”

“The formation of Generation mPower is a turning point in the nuclear power plant industry – it has the potential to be a real game changer,” said Jack Futcher, president of Bechtel’s power business. “This alliance intends to advance the development and deployment of nuclear power in a way that makes nuclear power more accessible to utilities and more affordable to consumers. Bechtel brings the plant engineering, procurement and construction capability to complement B&W’s expertise in nuclear engineering and manufacturing. Together, we have the resources, experience and expertise to deliver on the promise of a new clean energy option.”

The alliance is expected to generate new jobs in engineering, manufacturing and utility operations in the United States and Canada. B&W will focus on designing and testing the nuclear steam supply system (NSSS) and nuclear island, including the design certification application development and submission, and NSSS production. Bechtel, backed by 60 years of experience in the nuclear power industry, will complement these responsibilities with integrated engineering and project management leadership.

Depending on regulatory approval and other factors, the first plant could be deployed as early as 2020. _FinancialPost
The biggest obstacles to a clean and abundant energy future are political. Anti-nuclear forces are willing to utilise harassment, litigation, protest of all kind -- including violent protest, and more to stop the development of clean and abundant nuclear power. The faux environmental left -- the forces of the left and energy starvation -- have their best team ever in the US White House and Congress. If they cannot kill big energy and initiate the great human dieoff now, they know it will be a daunting task to achieve when more rational persons are elected to public office on the rebound.

More on the plenitude of clean, high-grade energy, and the need to develop the political will to develop it.

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