GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to lead a $2 million additive manufacturing research project.
Under the agreement, GEH will manufacture simple replacement parts for nuclear power plants. These samples will be 3D printed in metal at the GE Power Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville, South Carolina, and will then be shipped to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).
“Once irradiated in INL’s Advanced Test Reactor, the samples will be removed, tested and compared to an analysis of unirradiated material conducted by GEH,” the company said in a press release.
Jay Wileman, President and CEO of GEH said the results will be used by GEH to support deployment of 3D printed parts for fuels, services and new plant applications.
“The potential of 3D printing to speed delivery time and reduce the cost of manufacturing performance-enhancing replacement parts for nuclear power plants is quite significant,” Mr Wileman added.
“We want to recognise the Department of Energy for its leadership in advanced nuclear research and we look forward to working with the Idaho National Laboratory.”
The project, which is part of a more than $80million investment in advanced nuclear technology announced last week by DOE, will use Nuclear Science User Facilities funding to provide GEH with access to world-class neutron and gamma irradiation and post-irradiation examination services.
The GE Power Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville opened in April. GE has invested $73 million in the 125,000-square-foot facility to date and is planning to invest further $327 million across the GE Power Greenville campus over the next several years to drive innovation and the faster development of best-in-class technologies that deliver more value for customers across the world.