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GE Gets $2M to Study 3D Printed Part Viability in Nuclear Power Plants

GE will lead DOE research project to see if 3D-printed replacement parts can be used in nuclear power plants.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) to lead a $2 million additive manufacturing research project. GEH will lead the project by producing sample replacement parts for nuclear power plants.

The samples will be 3D printed in metal at the GE Power Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville, SC and then be shipped to the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). 

Once irradiated in INL’s Advanced Test Reactor, the samples will be removed, tested and compared to an analysis of unirradiated material conducted by GEH. The results will be used by GEH to support deployment of 3D printed parts for fuels, services and new plant applications.

“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,” said Jay Wileman, President and CEO, GEH. 

The project is part of a more than $80 million investment in advanced nuclear technology announced last week by DOE. Nuclear Science User Facilities funding will be used to provide GEH with access to world-class neutron and gamma irradiation and post-irradiation examination services.

“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,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in announcing several awards recently.

GEH is currently participating in a DOE-funded project with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to develop stainless steel with enhanced stress corrosion cracking and irradiation resistance.

The GE Power Advanced Manufacturing Works facility in Greenville opened in April. GE has invested $73 million in the facility to date and will invest another $327 million across the GE Power Greenville campus over the next several years to drive innovation and the faster development of best-in-class technologies that deliver more value for customers across the globe.

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