Element has invested $8 million to enhance its Huntsville, Alabama testing facilities. This strategic move strengthens its position in emerging small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear energy testing.
The new large-scale testing chambers at Huntsville will be unmatched globally. The chambers are engineered to simulate the extreme temperatures and pressures of advanced SMR systems currently under development. In comparison to conventional reactors, SMRs operate at higher temperatures and pressure conditions. The chambers are meticulously designed to test components and systems operating at pressures of up to 1600 psi and temperatures of up to 800°C, surpassing capabilities found anywhere else in the world.
This substantial investment comes at a time of rapidly accelerating demand for SMR technology. Governments and companies across the globe are increasingly turning to next-generation nuclear as a source of clean, reliable power source. SMRs are under construction or in the licensing stage in Argentina, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States of America and the UK Government recently announced support for SMR reactors.
Spanning 110 acres, Element's Huntsville site plays a pivotal role as a primary supplier of safety-related engineering and test services to nuclear utilities and power plant equipment manufacturers worldwide. It excels in equipment qualification, safety relief valve recertification services, and provides services for on-site/off-site snubber inspection, testing, and repair services for both new and existing nuclear power plants.
By making this significant investment in a new building and equipment dedicated to SMR testing, Element has firmly positioned itself at the forefront of nuclear technology advancement. Element is paving the way not just for its own nuclear testing services, but for the entire industry to advance innovations that will make this clean form of energy generation even safer and more sustainable.
Element's Huntsville facility has over five decades of expertise. It has qualified more equipment than any company in the industry, making them well-equipped to meet the evolving needs of the SMR market. This investment cements Element's leadership and paves the way for partnerships in testing and certification of next-generation nuclear technologies.
"By investing in state-of-the-art testing capabilities, we are demonstrating our commitment to assisting customers in developing and bringing new and advanced nuclear designs to market. Nuclear power provides 10 per cent of the world’s electricity, and it is vital the facility safety standards remain at the highest level. The innovation of SMRs, with simpler designs and inherent safety features, requires rigorous testing, and this investment will allow us to support the progress being made.” said Rick Sluiters, Executive Vice President for Americas.
The expanded facilities are on track for completion in Spring 2024. Element's experts will also be present at the World Nuclear Exhibition in Paris from November 28 to 30 at stand E008, where they will be available to discuss the new nuclear testing capabilities.