Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence (formerly PPM) division announced that X-energy, a U.S. nuclear reactor and fuel design engineering company, has chosen Hexagon solutions to drive productivity savings and aid modular construction in the design of Advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program Cooperative Agreement.
X-energy was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur and engineer Kam Ghaffarian to meet the growing world demand for energy while simultaneously helping to reduce global carbon emissions. The company was chosen by the Department of Energy as a recipient of a matching grant over the next five to seven years for the cost of building a demonstration plant consisting of four of its Xe-100 helium cooled pebble-bed reactors.
Xe-100 is a game-changing, 80-megawatt electrical (MWe) reactor that can be scaled into a “four-pack” 320 MWe power plant, and with its modular design the scale can grow larger as needed.
X-energy conducted an extensive competitive evaluation and determined Intergraph Smart® 3D, Intergraph Smart P&ID, Intergraph Smart Instrumentation, Intergraph Smart Electrical and HxGN SDx® Projects from Hexagon are the ideal solutions for its revolutionary nuclear reactor designs. X-energy’s leadership also had familiarity with Hexagon solutions deployed on a pair of massive coal-fired power plant projects in South Africa capable of producing 780MW per unit and came away impressed with those results.
“We like to say that Hexagon’s Smart solutions are the tools that transition us from the design integration into procurement and becomes the primary communication tool to the construction team as well,” said Dr. Martin van Staden, Vice President for Design and Xe-100 Program Manager. “That's the way we want to be using Hexagon solutions, to enable a seamless transition from design engineering through to procurement and then finally going to construction, while obviously making sure the plant is well-integrated and minimizing on-site modifications.
“We want to change the narrative in many areas. We want to have a standard plant design so that when we have a well-developed model with Hexagon’s Smart solutions, we can take that model and get that into a constructor’s hands and they can start construction from that with minimal site-specific engineering required,” van Staden added.
X-energy’s high temperature gas reactor allows flexible sites, lowers the cost of building plants and is powered by tri-structural isotropic (TRISO) particle fuel, which the Department of Energy has called the “the most robust fuel on Earth.” The Xe-100 reactor does not require nearby water and is considered an excellent alternative for areas that are closing coal plants by providing clean energy and jobs to local communities.
“If we are successful in deploying these designs in the timeframe we have planned, we can change the landscape of nuclear forever. Nobody wants to risk these projects because they are too far over budget and schedule. That's what the real benefit is – Hexagon is going to help achieve better certainty on our schedule," said van Staden.
“X-energy is at the forefront of a profound transformation in the way nuclear power plants will be constructed,” said Jerry Belanger, Senior Vice President, Americas, Hexagon’s Asset Lifecycle Intelligence division. “Its decision to use Hexagon software to create the world’s safest, most economical and most advanced design for a small modular nuclear reactor producing a carbon-free power source validates our solutions portfolio and aligns with Hexagon’s sustainability strategy.”