General Electric Opens New Advanced Technology Center, Global Field Services Facility
GE Energy’s (NYSE: GE) nuclear business today opened a new advanced technology center and a global field services facility as the company continues to expand its Wilmington, N.C. site to prepare for new reactor orders and broaden its services capabilities for utility customers.
The advanced technology center will employ hundreds of engineers, project managers and support personnel dedicated to advanced design work and implementation support for the commercial launch of GE’s next-generation technology, the ESBWR. The technology center also will support GE’s ABWR projects around the world.
Andy White, president and CEO of GE Energy’s nuclear business, and U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre (D – N.C., 7th District), whose district includes Wilmington, participated in the grand opening event.
As utilities prepare to invest in new commercial reactors, White said it is important that GE demonstrate its ability to complete projects on time and on budget for its global customer base.
“Our new advanced technology center will further enhance our ability to coordinate multiple reactor projects, both in the United States and around the world,”
White said. “It’s a key part of our strategy to have the most extensive and advanced engineering, design and production capabilities to meet customer requirements.”
With reactor projects creating thousands of construction and permanent engineering jobs, GE’s advanced technology center also will play an important role in supporting state and local economic development growth for decades to come.
“With the ongoing resurgence in nuclear energy, it is crucial we support the efforts of GE to be in the best position possible to prepare for new reactor orders, which will yield significant economic benefits for our communities,” Rep. McIntyre said.
Utilizing natural circulation and passive safety systems, the ESBWR is more efficient to operate, features a smaller building footprint and is less expensive to build, with a projected 36-month construction schedule from the pouring of concrete to first-fuel load.
GE’s Field Services Operation Essential to Customers’ Success
In addition to the advanced technology center, GE unveiled a new global services center dedicated to supporting GE’s services business and its customers around the world.
“By providing the best possible service to existing nuclear power plants, GE’s commitment to excellence is reinforced with our customers, many of which are now preparing to invest in new reactor projects,” White said.
By optimizing service capabilities during outages, GE will continue to help customers reduce the amount of time that a reactor needs to be offline for maintenance while extending the operating period of the reactor between outages, thus potentially saving the operator millions of dollars.
For example, two GE-designed boiling water reactor (BWR) units at Exelon Nuclear’s LaSalle County Generating Station in Illinois recently set new world records for the longest continuous operation of light water reactors. The LaSalle plant produces enough electricity for 2.3 million homes.
GE Invests in Preparation for New Reactor Orders
Since 2003, GE has hired 500 new engineers and other personnel in preparation for new unit orders. GE also has executed a strategic consolidation in Wilmington of several existing GE nuclear facilities located around the United States.
GE’s ESBWR and ABWR technology has already been selected for five potential projects for new commercial reactors in the United States. The ESBWR is being considered for deployment by several U.S. utilities and in a number of other countries. Meanwhile, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is currently performing its design certification review of the ESBWR. GE recently submitted its third revision of the Design Certification Document on schedule to the NRC for review.
The ABWR is the world’s first commercially proven, Generation III reactor design and has been licensed for construction in the United States, Japan and Taiwan.
GE’s nuclear business has been a leading provider of light water reactor technology and services for more than 50 years, helping owners of both boiling and pressurized water reactors safely operate their facilities with greater efficiency and output.
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