17 May 2006 – GE Energy has begun constructing a new advanced nuclear reactor technology centre at its headquarters in Wilmington, US, in anticipation of a new wave of nuclear power plant contracts.
Andy White, president and CEO of GE Energy’s nuclear business, said at the groundbreaking ceremony: “We are optimistic that our new ESBWR technology centre will play a crucial, supporting role as we compete for new reactor orders both in the United States and around the world.”
GE’s advanced ESBWR technology, one of only two ‘Generation III+’ designs available to customers, has been selected for three potential US reactor projects. While no US utilities have decided to formally place what would be the first reactor orders in 25 years, several could submit applications for federal construction and operating licences in 2007 or 2008. If approved, GE anticipates that construction would begin by 2010 or 2011.
Beyond North America, GE has confirmed that the ESBWR is being considered for installation by a number of other utility customers and national governments.