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Dow selects site for nuclear project

| By Chemical Engineering

Dow (Midland, Michigan; and X-Energy Reactor Company, LLC (Rockville, Md; announced that Dow has selected its Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) Seadrift Operations manufacturing site in Texas for its proposed advanced small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear project. The project is focused on providing the Seadrift site with safe, reliable, zero carbon emissions power and steam as existing energy and steam assets near their end-of-life.

Dow and X-energy previously announced their entry into a joint development agreement (JDA) to install  an advanced SMR nuclear plant at an industrial site in North America. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) named Dow a sub-awardee under X-energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) Cooperative Agreement. The JDA provides for up to $50 million in engineering work, up to half of which is eligible to be funded through ARDP, and the other half by Dow.

The project is expected to reduce the Seadrift site’s emissions by approximately 440,000 MT CO2e/year. Dow and X-energy will prepare and submit a construction permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, an important milestone to bringing the project to fruition. Construction on the four-reactor project is expected to begin in 2026 and to be completed by the end of this decade.

Dow’s Seadrift site covers 4,700 acres and manufactures more than 4 billion pounds of materials per year used across a wide variety of applications including food packaging and preservation, footwear, wire and cable insulation, solar cell membranes, and packaging for medical and pharmaceutical products.

X-energy was selected by the DOE in 2020 to develop, license, build, and demonstrate an operational advanced reactor and fuel fabrication facility by the end of the decade. Since that award, X-energy has completed the engineering and basic design of the nuclear reactor, has begun development and licensing of a fuel fabrication facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and is now working with Dow to prepare applications to the NRC for construction permits at the Seadrift site. The Xe-100 reactor uses TRISO Particle fuel.

X-energy and Dow

The Xe-100 reactor design is based on HTGR (high-temperature gas reactor) design. Photo courtesy of X-energy and Dow

X-energy and Dow

The Xe-100 uses TRISO particle fuel. Photo courtesy of X-energy and Dow


Jim Fitterling, Dow chairman and CEO said, “Advanced nuclear has attractive advantages over other sources of clean power, including a compact footprint, competitive cost, and enhanced power and steam reliability. The Seadrift site plays an important role in further advancing Dow’s sustainability goals, as evidenced by our increasing growth and investment at the site. We are excited to have the support of our local community, the DOE, and State of Texas as we progress on this important project.” 

And Clay Sell, X-energy CEO commented, “X-energy will deliver our innovative technology to the Texas Gulf Coast to efficiently and reliably decarbonize the Seadrift Site’s heat and power assets. We will showcase the unique versatility and wide range of applications of the Xe-100 advanced small modular nuclear reactor for energy production and manufacturing. This project will serve as a model for how we can decarbonize processes to create the products relied upon by people all over the world.”