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(General Electric Boiling Water Reactor)
GenerationGeneration I (BWR-1)
Generation II
Generation III (ABWR)
Generation III+ (ESBWR)
Reactor conceptLight water reactor (LWR)
Reactor lineBoiling water reactor (BWR)
Designed byGeneral Electric
Manufactured byGeneral Electric
Status83 reactors built, 67 reactors operational
(As of August 2018[citation needed])
Main parameters of the reactor core
Fuel (fissile material)235U/235Pu (LEU/MOX)
Fuel stateSolid
Neutron energy spectrumThermal
Primary control methodControl rods
Primary moderatorLight water
Primary coolantLiquid (water)
Reactor usage
Primary useGeneration of electricity
Power (thermal)530 MWth (BWR-1)
1500 MWth (BWR-2)
2400 MWth (BWR-3)
3000 MWth (BWR-4)
3100 MWth (BWR-5)
3400 MWth (BWR-6)
4000 MWth (ABWR)
4500 MWth (ESBWR)
Power (electric)160 MWe (BWR-1)
650 MWe (BWR-2)
460 MWe (BWR-3)
784 MWe (BWR-4)
1050 MWe (BWR-5)
1150 MWe (BWR-6)
1400 MWe (ABWR)
1600 MWe (ESBWR)
Schematic GE BWR inside a Mark I containment.

General Electric's BWR product line of boiling water reactors represents the designs of a relatively large (~18%)[1] percentage of the commercial fission reactors around the world.

The progenitor of the BWR line was the 5 MW Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor (VBWR), brought online in October 1957. Six design iterations, BWR-1 through BWR-6, were introduced between 1955 and 1972.

This was followed by the Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) introduced in the 1990s and the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) introduced in the early 2010s.

As of August 2018, 83 reactors of this design family have been built, of which 67 reactors are operational[citation needed].

The design garnered world attention in the aftermath of the INES level 7 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 11 March 2011. GE had been a major contractor to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, which consisted of six boiling water reactors of GE design. The reactors for Units 1, 2, and 6 were supplied by General Electric, the other three by Toshiba and Hitachi. Unit 1 was a 460 MW boiling water reactor from the BWR-3 design iteration introduced in 1965 and constructed in July 1967.

After the plant became severely damaged in the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, loss of reactor core cooling led to three nuclear meltdowns, three hydrogen explosions, and the release of radioactive contamination in Units 1, 2 and 3 between 12 and 15 March. Safe operation of this reactor design family depends on continued coolant flow at all times during operation, and for a quite a while[quantify] after operation ceases.


The progenitor of the BWR line was the 5 MW Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor (VBWR), brought online in October 1957.





Browns Ferry Unit 1 drywell and wetwell under construction, within a Mark I containment





Fuel Rod Bundles





GE-6 & 7




See also: Boiling water reactor safety systems

Schematic GE BWR inside a Mark I containment.

Mark I

Schematic BWR inside Mark I containment.

A drywell containment building which resembles an inverted lightbulb above the wetwell which is a steel torus containing water.

Mark II

BWR inside a Mark II containment.

Described as an "over-under" configuration with the drywell forming a truncated cone on a concrete slab. Below is a cylindrical suppression chamber made of concrete rather than just sheet metal.

Mark III

The GE Mark III Containment-system is a single barrier pressure containment and multi-barrier fission containment system, consisting of the containment vessel plus associated dry- and wetwell (pressure and fission barriers), the external shield building of it, the auxiliary building and the fuel building, all of which are normally kept at negative pressure which prevents the egress of fission products.[citation needed]

Features of the containment :



This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (April 2018)

See also


  1. ^ "Nuclear Power Reactors in the World – 2015 Edition" (PDF). International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Moore, R.S.; Notz, K.J. (1989). "Moore, R.S., and K.J. Notz. Physical Characteristics of GE (General Electric) BWR (boiling-Water Reactor) Fuel Assemblies. United States: N. p., 1989. Web. doi:10.2172/5898210". doi:10.2172/5898210. Retrieved 5 April 2017. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b c Hylko, James M.; Peltier, Robert (1 November 2010). "The Evolution of the ESBWR". POWER Magazine. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Boiling Water Reactor Basics" (PDF). Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "BWR/6 General Description of a Boiling Water Reactor" (PDF). Retrieved 24 March 2018.