Midland’s Dow Partners to Demonstrate Grid-scale Advanced Nuclear Reactor

DOW and X-Energy will demonstrate the first grid-scale advanced nuclear reactor for an industrial site in North America. // Stock Photo
DOW and X-Energy will demonstrate the first grid-scale advanced nuclear reactor for an industrial site in North America. // Stock Photo

Dow, the Midland-based global materials science company, announced it is entering a joint development agreement (JDA) with X-Energy Reactor Co., a developer of advanced nuclear reactors and fuel technology, to demonstrate the first grid-scale advanced nuclear reactor for an industrial site in North America.

As a subawardee under the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Cooperative Agreement with X-energy, Dow intends to work with X-energy to install their Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) plant at one of Dow’s U.S. Gulf Coast sites, providing the site with safe, reliable, low-carbon power and steam within this decade.

“The utilization of X-energy’s fourth generation nuclear technology will enable Dow to take a major step in reducing our carbon emissions while delivering lower carbon footprint products to our customers and society,” says Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and CEO. “The collaboration with X-energy and the DOE will serve as a leading example of how the industrial sector can safely, effectively, and affordably decarbonize.”

The JDA includes up to $50 million in engineering work, up to half of which is eligible to be funded through ARDP, and the other half by Dow. The JDA work scope also includes the preparation and submission of a construction permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Working with DOE and subject to its review and approval, Dow and X-energy expect to finalize site selection in 2023. The parties intend to perform further ARDP-related work under the JDA as the project progresses. Additionally, the companies have agreed to develop a framework to jointly license and utilize the technology and learnings from the project, which would enable other industrial customers to effectively utilize Xe-100 industrial low carbon energy technology.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates the commercial versatility of the Xe-100 and is an important milestone for the future of advanced nuclear and carbon-free energy around the world. X-energy’s collaboration with Dow brings added significance because of the immense opportunity to further reduce emissions in the energy-intensive industrial sector,” says J. Clay Sell, CEO of X-Energy.

“From the beginning to the end of the supply chain, our technology can supply both power and heat to businesses in most sectors of the economy to help limit their carbon footprint. We are thrilled to work with Dow to deliver a successful project and illustrate the broad, highly flexible applications of X-Energy’s proprietary nuclear energy technology.”

X-energy is a leading developer of a more advanced small modular reactor (SMR) and proprietary fuel for carbon-free and reliable baseload power production. Unlike existing light water and other small modular reactors, X-energy’s HTGR technology can also support broad industrial use applications through its high-temperature heat and steam output that can be integrated into and address the needs of both large and regional electricity and/or industrial manufacturing systems.

The four-reactor Xe-100 nuclear plant will provide a Dow facility with cost-competitive, low carbon process heat and power to make essential products used by consumers and businesses every day.

X-energy was selected by DOE in 2020 to receive up to $1.2 billion under the ARDP in federal cost-shared funding to develop, license, build, and demonstrate an operational advanced reactor and fuel fabrication facility by the end of the decade.

Since that award, X-energy has completed the engineering and basic design of the nuclear reactor, advanced development of a fuel fabrication facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and is preparing to apply for licensure to the NRC.

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