We should recognize that the prospects for the expansion of nuclear energy remain weak in many parts of the world. While other generation technologies have reduced their costs, large new nuclear plants are becoming more and more costly. This trend undermines their potential contribution of nuclear energy in the future generation mix.
Several prestigious international organizations have published recently some studies comparing investments costs for different sources of electricity generation. They conclude on what capital costs needs nuclear energy to achieve to be competitive in the mix.
Additionally, the studies focus on a number of recommendations aimed to reduce the cost of nuclear energy generation. Among others, they point to elements like the plant construction management and the standardization of component fabrication. A reliable supply chain is a key factor in the above.
Of course, safety can’t be minimized. The addition of passive safety features already proven and licensed in previous designs should facilitate the works and schedules during the design and licensing phases.
The GE Hitachi BWRX-300 reactor meets the above criteria. It has been designed as a small modular reactor with simplicity as one of its primary objectives. The designers have progressively incorporated different concepts to promote the evolution of the design in order to improve efficiency and safety.