Bechtel says it has withdrawn from plans to build a small modular nuclear reactor in the United States.
The company wanted to build the world’s first commercially viable small modular reactor (SMR) plant with nuclear tecnhology partners BWX Technologies, in a venture known as Generation mPower, as early as 2020.
But after experiencing difficulties in finding a location and suitable investor, Bechtel has shelved its plans to build the 195MW plant.
“Bechtel is a strong advocate of small modular reactors, which we believe could play a key role in delivering clean, safe and secure energy supplies for the UK. However, building a new reactor program through the design, engineering, and regulatory process is a very complex and expensive proposition,” said a Bechtel spokesperson.
“It needs a utilities owner with an identified location and an investor willing to wait a significant period of time for a return, and unfortunately these were not available to take mPower further at this stage. Bechtel made a long-term commitment to innovation in this field and we will continue to seek opportunities to build SMRs around the world.”
Partners BWX Technologies will pay Bechtel a £24M settlement as agreed in the original framework, before drawing its mPower work to a close.
“BWXT believes in its SMR technology and is proud of its development efforts to date. We will keep a complete archive of our work to date, and should conditions warrant in the future, BWXT will be in a position to evaluate any opportunities for design and manufacture using that technology, as guided by our senior leadership and board of directors,” said a spokesperson for BWX Technologies.
The project was founded in 2010 as a partnership between Babcocks & Wilcox, when BWX Technologies was part of the company.