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Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy Ltd presented a free seminar on the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) technology, supported by the Japan Information and Culture Centre (JICC) at the University of Birmingham on Tuesday 21 – Wednesday 22 April 2015.

The University of Birmingham are selected partners with Horizon Nuclear Power, a UK energy company owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, aiming to develop a new generation of nuclear power stations to help meet the country’s need for stable and sustainable low carbon energy. Hitachi Ltd intends to build two 1,350 MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactors (ABWR) on existing Oldbury and Wylfa nuclear power station sites.

The Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) is the only advanced (generation 3+) reactor already constructed and operating in the world, with four other units operating in Japan. With the purchase of Horizon Nuclear Power by Hitachi Ltd this technology will now be deployed as the UK ABWR at Horizon’s sites at Wylfa and Oldbury. The UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor is a nuclear reactor design proposed for development and construction in the UK.

The Hitachi-GE team presented their Advanced Boiling Water Reactor concept to over 80 UK and international delegates from industry and academia. The objective of the seminar was to introduce delegates to a broader understanding of the technology. It was also an opportunity to meet key people in the Hitachi-GE team and network with a variety of people within the UK nuclear industry. 

Topics covered at the seminar were:

• Overview of ABWR
• Nuclear Material
• Water Chemistry
• Manufacturing Technology
• Invited Lecture on Robotics

Each session highlighted a variation of subjects, such as an overview of Hitachi Ltd and Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, the company’s history and progression as being one of the world’s largest electronics companies, with this nuclear sector comprising around 20% of their Power Business portfolio. Hitachi-GE have constructed 4 ABWRs in Japan, on-budget and on-schedule ABWR is the only proven generation 3+ technology in operation, but in-line with the lessons learned from Fukushima further enhancements to safety in relation to external hazards will be implemented Hitachi will proceed with a UK-ABWR supported by Horizon and the UK supply chain.

Hitachi are planning on building 2 or 3 UKABWRs at each of the Wylfa and Oldbury sites, starting operation in the early 2020s They anticipate strong support from both the UK and Japanese governments and good long-term relationships with UK academia and industry.

Professor Martin Freer, Director of the Birmingham Energy Institute and Head of Nuclear Physics said:

The ABWR is presently going through the UK's generic design assessment process. It is a reactor technology with high potential to bring to operation on the much needed accelerated timescale. This is really a vital component of the UK's move to decarbonise its electricity production through a new generation of nuclear power plants. The University of Birmingham is absolutely delighted to be part of this journey that Hitachi-GE with Horizon Nuclear Power are embarking on.