Industries Energy/Green

B&W and TerraPower plan collaboration on nuclear energy system.

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The Babcock & Wilcox Co. and TerraPower have signed a memorandum of understanding to support the development of TerraPower’s Generation IV traveling wave reactor (TWR).

The TWR commercial reactor plant design is a 1,150 megawatt liquid sodium-cooled reactor that uses depleted uranium as fuel. The design allows for the use of depleted uranium generated by the enrichment process used for existing light water reactors.

With the conceptual design phase under way, B&W said it would provide support to TerraPower, based in Bellevue, Wash., as the project enters the preliminary design phase. A company spokesman said various tasks involving the collaboration would be done at Babcock & Wilcox’s facilities in Lynchburg and at several other locations.

B&W, which has its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., will provide TerraPower with services and program support in multiple areas, which may include design and fabrication of engineered components; prototype fabrication, fuel fabrication process development, reactor design engineering and licensing support.

Through the memorandum and the agreement the parties are working on, B&W will be recognized as a strategic technology supplier, while TerraPower continues its design work and prepares to commercialize the reactor globally.

Unlike B&W’s small modular reactor, mPower — based on standard fuel enriched to 5 percent – TerraPower’s system is a larger reactor based on later technology and designed to use depleted uranium as fuel.

“B&W is privileged to be selected as a strategic supplier for the TerraPower development program,” Joe Zwetolitz, president, Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy Inc., said in a statement.  “We have a long tradition of providing industry leading engineering, manufacturing and services and look forward to supporting TerraPower and to participating in the development of the next generation technology. “ 

TerraPower began in 2006 when Bill Gates and a group of other visionaries decided that the private sector could develop a scalable, sustainable, low-carbon and cost-competitive energy source. The goal is that it would allow all nations to speed their pace of economic development and reduce poverty.

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