WILMINGTON, N.C. - November 12, 2007 : Illinois-based Exelon Nuclear, the nation's largest nuclear utility, has announced it will use GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's (GEH) next-generation ESBWR reactor design if the company decides to build a new nuclear power plant in Texas.
Exelon Nuclear is studying locations in Matagorda and Victoria counties in Texas as potential reactor sites to help address that state's rapidly growing demand for energy.
As part of preparing a federal combined construction and operating license (COL) application, utilities choose a preferred reactor design. Exelon's selection of the ecomaginationSM certified ESBWR now preserves the utility's timeline for a potential new build project. Exelon began studying the COL in the fall of 2006.
In its announcement, Exelon cited the safety and environmental benefits offered by the ESBWR as well as GEH's proven track record of designing reliable nuclear plants.
"We are thrilled and honored that Exelon has chosen the ESBWR as its preferred reactor design for its potential project in Texas," said Andy White, president and CEO of GEH. "By choosing the ESBWR, Exelon is making a bold industry statement in favor of advanced passive safety technology while addressing critical safety, economic and environmental priorities on behalf of customers and investors."
The 1,520-megawatt (MW) ESBWR is a Generation III + reactor design and represents an evolution of the standard boiling water reactor.
The ESBWR incorporates advanced natural circulation and passive safety systems, which rely on natural forces such as gravity, evaporation and condensation for plant operations instead of the large numbers of active pumps and valves used by existing reactors.
In all, the ESBWR design eliminates 11 systems from previous designs and has 25 percent fewer valves, pumps and motors. By incorporating simplified design features and fewer components, the design allows for faster construction and lower operating costs, as well as enhanced safety.
With Exelon's announcement, three of the nation's largest and most highly regarded nuclear power plant operators have now chosen the ESBWR as their preferred designs. Entergy Corp, along with Dominion and the utility consortium NuStart Energy Development, have each previously selected the ESBWR for several potential nuclear projects in the United States.
The ESBWR also is being considered for construction by utilities in a number of other countries. The technology has been accepted for Generic Design Assessment by regulators in the U.K., where seven European utilities have publicly expressed their support of the design for potential construction in the future.
Due to the significant role nuclear energy generation can play in curtailing greenhouse gas emissions while meeting the world's growing energy demands, the ESBWR recently received ecomaginationSM certification from GE.
Launched in 2005, ecomagination is GE's corporate commitment to introduce new technologies that can help customers meet their pressing energy needs and their increasingly important environmental requirements. Demand for such solutions, including nuclear energy, is quickly growing as countries around the world consider various emissions reduction targets and restrictions.
Exelon Corporation is one of the nation's largest electric utilities with more than $15 billion in annual revenues. The company has one of the industry's largest portfolios of electricity generation capacity, with a nationwide reach and strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. In Texas, the company owns or controls about 3,700 megawatts of natural gas fired generation within Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Exelon distributes electricity to approximately 5.4 million customers in northern Illinois and Pennsylvania and gas to approximately 480,000 customers in the Philadelphia area. Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on the NYSE under the ticker EXC.
About GEH Nuclear Energy
Based in Wilmington, North Carolina, GEH is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services.
Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry outside Japan. The new 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.
For more information, contact:
GEH Nuclear Energy
+1 910 675 6121
Tom Murnane or Howard Masto
Masto Public Relations
+ 1 518 786 6488