Framatome and General Atomics announce collaboration

22 October 2020

Framatome and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced plans to collaborate on the development of GA-EMS’ helium-cooled 50-MWe fast modular reactor (FMR). Due to its advanced modular design, the reactor can be built in a factory and assembled on-site, which helps to reduce capital costs and enables incremental capacity additions. Framatome’s U.S. engineering team will be responsible for designing several critical structures, systems and components for the FMR.
“This collaboration builds on our long relationship with General Atomics with a shared interest in advancing nuclear energy technologies to create a cleaner world for generations to come,” said Bernard Fontana, CEO of Framatome. “With our experience and expertise in designing reactor systems and components for advanced and small modular reactors, our team is helping to make that vision a reality.”

“Designing and deploying a safe, cost-effective, modular reactor is critical in helping the world move closer towards a clean energy future,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “We look forward to leveraging our two companies’ decades of experience in advancing nuclear technology and demonstrating the next generation of commercially viable nuclear reactors.”

The FMR is designed for enhanced safety and ease of operation with fast-response load following and overall high efficiency. It offers stability for the electricity grid and can respond to meet demand based on fluctuations in renewable energy sources. The gas-cooled FMR uses a helium coolant while eliminating the need for the graphite common in other helium-cooled designs. Its fuel is optimized to support reactor operations for up to nine years before needing to be replaced. The power conversion system does not use complex steam generators and pressurizers, which helps to drive down costs.

"We are pleased to work with GA-EMS to advance this innovative and promising reactor," said Gary Mignogna, president and CEO of Framatome in North America. "The synergies between our teams make this an ideal project for demonstration and subsequent commercialization."

A demonstration of the FMR, which will verify the design, manufacturing, construction and operation of the technology, is targeted for completion in the early 2030s. Commercial deployment is anticipated in the mid-2030s.

Photo: ANS