State News

GE Energy Opens Nuclear Reactor Design Center in Wilmington

Posted March 27, 2007 12:03 a.m. EDT
Updated March 27, 2007 7:21 a.m. EDT

— GE Energy exhibited its hope for nuclear energy Monday when it opened its reactor technology design center for a new generation of nuclear reactors.

More than 250 engineers from sites across the U.S. will work in the 40,000-square-foot building. The company is hoping to see the first orders for new U.S. nuclear power plants in more than 30 years.

“Our new advanced technology center will further enhance our ability to coordinate multiple reactor projects, both in the United States and around the world,” said Andy White, chief executive officer of GE''s nuclear business unit.  “It’s a key part of our strategy to have the most extensive and advanced engineering, design and production capabilities to meet customer requirements.”

GE is awaiting federal approval for its latest reactor, which has been provisionally selected for three plants seeking permits to operate in Mississippi, Louisiana and Virginia.

The company could get orders in 2008, which would mean construction around 2010, said Tom Rumsey, manager for communications and public affairs at GE Energy Nuclear.

Fifteen groups are preparing applications to build and operate more than 30 new nuclear plants in the U.S., according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington-based trade group. It takes 10 years to get a plant online, officials said.

GE Energy Nuclear moved its headquarters to Wilmington in 2003 with help from $11 million in state and local subsidies. Part of the deal was a commitment to create 400 jobs in seven years, Rumsey said.

GE surpassed that goal in 18 months, he added. The company should bring in another 200 to 300 jobs in the next 18 months, said Andrew White, CEO of GE Energy Nuclear.