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X-energy announces engineering partner for 'walk-away' safe advanced nuke

Advanced nuclear developer X Energy LLC, is partnering with the Burns &McDonnell Engineering Co. to help build its "walk-away" safe, hightemperature gas-cooled reactor known as the Xe-100.

X-energy announced Sept. 29 a memorandum of understandingwith its architectural and engineering partner to develop the cheaper andless-time consuming factory-built design, which will be deployed in incrementsof 50 MWe. In case of a power outage, the Xe-100's pebble bed system-basedreactor would automatically cool down to avoid a meltdown. The collaborativeeffort to deploy the Xe-100 also includes Southern Co. subsidiary Southern Nuclear Operating Co., which in also entered into an MOUwith X-energy.  

"As we move toward deployment of our Xe-100, we areworking hard to put together a team that will move us to market as quickly aspossible," said X-energy CEO Kam Ghaffarian in a news release announcingthe collaboration with Burns & McDonnell. "Partnering with a100-year-old worldwide innovative leader in architecture, engineering, andconstruction will give X-energy a great head start."

In January, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded X-energyand a separate partnership between Southern Co. and TerraPower up to to develop viableand licensable advanced reactor designs within 5 years. The DOE's Oak RidgeNational Laboratory in East Tennessee announced in that it is working with bothteams to build a potentially 600-MW molten-chloride salt-cooled reactor.