X-Energy picks Dow Manufacturing site on Gulf Coast for Advanced Nuclear Reactor

May 12, 2023
The two companies will work together to install X-energy’s Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) facility at the Seadrift site. Last year, X-energy announced construction team would include Day & Zimmerman, Burns & McDonnell and Zachry Group
X-Energy Reactor has selected materials science and chemicals firm Dow’sUCC Seadrift Operations manufacturing site in Texasfor its proposed advanced small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear project.

The two companies had announced their partnership in March to showcase a future grid-scale next-generation nuclear reactor for an industrial site in North America. The announcement came after the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) made Dow a sub-awardee under X-energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Cooperative Agreement.

Under the deal, the two companies will work together to install X-energy’s Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) facility at the Seadrift site. Last year, X-energy announced a team of construction firms including Day & Zimmerman, Burns & McDonnell and Zachry Group to build the Xe-100 reactor.

The project is aimed at providing the facility with safe, reliable, and zero carbon emissions power and steam as existing energy and steam assets approach the end of their life. Nuclear power does not produce carbon emissions.

The joint development agreement between Dow and X-energy includes up to $50 million in engineering work, with half of the funding eligible to be funded through ARDP. The other half will be funded by Dow.

“Advanced nuclear has attractive advantages over other sources of clean power, including a compact footprint, competitive cost, and enhanced power and steam reliability,” said Jim Fitterling, Chairman and CEO of Dow. “The Seadrift site plays an important role in further advancing Dow’s sustainability goals, as evidenced by our increasing growth and investment at the site.”

Read more on SMRs in EnergyTech

NRC Final Approval moves NuScale's SMR Design Closer to Reality

Purdue University, Duke Energy exploring potential for SMRs

Read our latest email newsletter with stories across the C&I Energy Transition

2022 Dragos ICS/OT Cybersecurity Year in Review Report: Get it Here

The two companies will now prepare and submit a construction permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a crucial step towards making the project a reality. Construction on the four-reactor project is anticipated to begin in 2026 and be completed by the end of the decade.

Dow’s Seadrift site spans 4,700 acres and produces more than 4 billion pounds of materials annually, which are used across various industries, including footwear, solar cell membranes, wire and cable insulation, food packaging and preservation, and packaging for medical and pharmaceutical products. The project is expected to cut Seadrift’s emissions by about 440,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

“Our advanced nuclear project is another example of Dow leading the way and showing industry the path toward a lower carbon future,” Fitterling added. “Alongside Dow’s key decarbonize and grow projects in Alberta and Terneuzen, as well as our circularity projects around the globe, we are positioned to drive growth by delivering sustainable products.”

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 receiving the award, it has completed the engineering and basic design of the nuclear reactor, started developing and licensing a fuel fabrication facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and is now working with Dow to prepare applications to the NRC for construction permits at the Seadrift site.

About the Author

EnergyTech Staff

Rod Walton is senior editor for EnergyTech.com. He has spent 14 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist.

Walton formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

He can be reached at [email protected]

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids.

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.