Jun 23, 2016 | By Tess

Wilmington, NC based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), a leading force in advanced reactors and nuclear facilities, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to take the reigns on a new $2 million additive manufacturing research project. The project in question will consist of 3D printing replacement part prototypes for nuclear power plants and subjecting the samples to a number of tests.

The research will primarily be conducted at the GE Power Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville, South Carolina which officially opened this past April. Since its opening, GE has reportedly invested $73 million into the facility and is expected to invest another $327 million into research conducted there over the upcoming years. The research project will also conducted in association with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).

As part of the research project, GEH will 3D print metal samples of nuclear power plant replacement parts at the Power Advanced Manufacturing Works. Once printed, the parts will be shipped to the Idaho National Laboratory to undergo an irradiation process (or in other words, they will be exposed to radiation). GEH will then be able to test the irradiated parts and compare them to unirradiated materials, in order to determine the uses and potentials of deploying 3D printing parts for fuels, services, and new plant applications.

GE Power Advanced Manufacturing Works

Jay Wileman, President and CEO of GEH says of the project, “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. We want to recognize the Department of Energy for its leadership in advanced nuclear research and we look forward to working with the Idaho National Laboratory.”

The additive manufacturing research project that will be conducted by GEH is in actuality a part of a bigger project, as the DOE announced last week that it was investing $80 million into advanced nuclear technology. The investment is significant and will go towards funding a total of 93 nuclear technology related projects, of which GEH’s is one. GEH will receive its funding from the DOE’s Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) program, which will give the company access to state-of-the-art neutron and gamma irradiation and post-irradiation examination services.

Energy secretary Ernest Moniz recently explained the significance of nuclear research saying, “Nuclear power is our nation’s largest source of low-carbon electricity and is a vital component in our efforts to both provide affordable and reliable electricity and to combat climate change.”

GEH was formed in June 2007 as a “global nuclear alliance” between American conglomerate GE and Japanese multinational Hitachi. GEH has since gone on to become a world leader in the design, servicing, and providing of advanced nuclear technologies.



Posted in 3D Printer Company



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John Dee wrote at 6/25/2016 8:23:39 AM:

Test's on Hinkley Point's Steel Reactor have proved there is big problems with the quality of traditionally manufactured parts, so I do hope 3D printing parts for reactors will undergo greater scrutiny.

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