Anglo-Dutch architecture practice Instance BV has unveiled designs in collaboration with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy for a scaled-down nuclear plant, which will be rolled out across North America, Europe and Asia. Instance BV, which has operations in London and Amsterdam, is led by UK architect Iain Macdonald.

GE Hitachi, a collaboration between General Electric and Hitachi, has developed a ground-breaking small modular reactor (SMR). Made using modular components, the BWRX-300 SMR is a scaled-down version of the traditional nuclear power plant and designed to provide clean, flexible baseload electricity generation at a competitive price and with a reduced footprint. Instance BV has been engaged by GE Hitachi to provide architectural inputs on building layouts and configurations for potential sites.

The BWRX-300 is a ~300 MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR estimated to have the lifecycle costs of typical natural gas combined-cycle plants.

Enabling simpler passive safety, these reactors are projected to have up to 60% less capital cost per MW when compared with typical water-cooled SMRs. Additionally, passive cooling through steam condensation and gravity allows the BWRX-300 to cool itself for a minimum of seven days without power or operator action.

According to GE Hitachi, the innovative SMR is designed to reduce building volume by about 50 percent per MW, which should account for 50 percent less concrete per MW. The BWRX-300 will significantly improve the next generation of reactors due to its affordability and advantageous size.

Deployable as early as 2028, GE Hitachi's BWRX-300 will help countries meet their decarbonisation goals through this competitively priced renewable energy solution.

Image: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy