Holtec International was founded in 1986 by Dr. Kris Singh with small capital and big ambition. Intending to be an innovation-focused enterprise, the Company adopted the motto “A Generation Ahead by Design.” During its first year of business, the Company had five personnel operating out of an office in Mount Laurel, NJ. The following year, the Company added a second operation center in Palm Harbor, Florida led by the eminent nuclear physicist Dr. Stanley Turner (1926-2010). Holtec’s initial business was focused on developing innovative solutions to power plants’ operating problems, such as flow induced vibration and corrosion in heat exchange equipment. Holtec also worked diligently toward solving the emerging on-site fuel storage challenge facing nuclear power plants. Special industrial, patent-protected products such as “anti-vibration stakes” and “non-segmental baffles” were introduced to solve operating problems in tubular heat exchangers of all types, including feedwater heaters, surface condensers, and steam generators, with great success. These 1980s era innovations are still in demand in the heat exchanger industry.
Wet Storage of Used Nuclear Fuel
Holtec soon saw an uptick in business from the wet storage industry for storing used fuel discharged by nuclear reactors. In the wake of the ban on reprocessing in 1979, used fuel had begun to fill nuclear plants’ fuel pools threatening their continued operation. It was in the backdrop of this looming crisis that Holtec introduced the “detuned honeycomb high density fuel rack” technology. Central to this pioneering innovation was the theoretical formulation of the fluid coupling phenomenon and its experimental validation by another Holtec stalwart Dr. Burton Paul (1931-2007) which forever changed the face of the wet storage industry. In two short years, Holtec had become the market leader in the so-called “re-rack” business. By 1992, propelled by its transformative fuel rack technology, Holtec essentially became the sole supplier of wet storage solutions to nuclear power plants; a dominance that continues to this day. By 2010, Holtec had carried out over 120 re-racks worldwide garnering a spotless record of safety and on-time performance.
In 1992, Holtec launched the dry storage and transport cask product line, once again betting the success of the endeavor on the industry and regulatory acceptance of new ground-breaking technologies. New ideas developed to secure client acceptance including the industry’s first multi-purpose canister, the first dual purpose metal cask, the first transport cask qualified for high burn-up and MOx fuel, and the first double wall canister. By 2010, Holtec had approximately fifty dry storage patents and forty dry storage clients. By 2018, the number of patents held by the Company has approached 90 and the number of global customers was well in excess of 100.
The First Manufacturing Plant
In 2003, Holtec acquired Westinghouse’s former mammoth manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh, PA, and renamed it the Holtec Manufacturing Division (HMD). With the HMD acquisition, Holtec became a turnkey provider of engineering, licensing, manufacturing and site services to the power industry. HMD has expanded to become the nation’s largest exporter of capital equipment to the international nuclear industry.
The Nano-dispersoid Metamic-HT
Holtec’s early history would not be complete without mentioning the nanotechnology-based product, Metamic-HT. Introduced in 2005, Metamic-HT has revolutionized the design of Fuel Baskets used for storing and transporting casks. In 2009, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC) certified Metamic-HT opening the pathway to its across-the-board application in fuel storage and transport systems. Later that year, the Company opened a brand-new manufacturing plant in Orrville, Ohio, devoted to manufacturing Metamic-HT. Today, all high heat load MPCs sold by Holtec utilize Metamic-HT.
Air Cooled Condenser (ACC)
In 2006, Holtec launched a program to modernize the design of the air-cooled condenser (ACC). Thanks to Holtec’s efforts, the world now has an ACC with stainless tubes joined to aluminum fins, and ACCs that can be installed at the site in less than half the labor required in contemporary designs. In 2014, a manufacturing plant at Dahej in the coastal state of Gujarat, India, was commissioned to serve the growing air-cooled condenser (ACC) demand in the developing economies of Asia and Africa.
It is in the air-cooled condensers and severe-service heat exchangers that Holtec’s business footprint extends outside of nuclear energy. The Company has been a prized supplier of critical-service heat exchange equipment, such as the innovative J-tube exchanger for the fossil power industry.
To be sure, not every attempt at innovation has been a success. A notable failure occurred in 2010 when the Company built an all-stainless air-cooled condenser facility in its Orrville plant only to close it in two years because of lack of industry demand and uncompetitive pricing. However, the second attempt at building ACCs at Dahej has been both a technical and a commercial success.
HI-STORM UMAX and Consolidated Interim Storage
The harrowing experience of 9/11 led Holtec to launch a research and development program to create a terror-resistant below-ground used fuel storage facility. The first-ever license for subterranean storage of spent nuclear fuel was granted by the USNRC in 2009, and a much-improved version called HI-STORM UMAX was licensed in 2014. Thus far, two US plants have adopted HI-STORM UMAX. The Company recently submitted a license application to build a UMAX-technology based Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS) facility, called HI-STORM CISF, in Southeastern New Mexico. The local community in New Mexico has strongly supported the HI-STORE CISF. This is a direct testament to the supremely secure and vanishingly small radiation-excretion profile of Holtec’s HI-STORM UMAX subterranean storage system.
SMR-160 Small Modular Reactor & KPS Technology Campus in Camden, NJ
Another technology conceived in the past decade with potentially far reaching consequence to carbon-free generation is the SMR-160 reactor. SMR-160 addresses the concerns and anxieties of the public with cool certitude and complete certainty. The differentiators of SMR-160 are a fully turbulated reactor coolant flow without the need of a pump, no active component in safety-significant service, a guaranteed “walk away safe” performance profile under any conceivable accident scenario, a compact footprint, a small required Exclusion Zone, and demonstrable commercial competitiveness. Nuclear industry pacesetters Canada’s – SNC Lavalin and Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric Co. – are founding members and are irrevocably committed to bringing SMR-160 to the market. Their contributions to the SMR-160 program have been of inestimable value.
Recognizing the imperative of meeting the unique need of each international customer, Holtec has been establishing operation centers — large and small — around the world and expects to grow them in parallel with our domestic growth. The table below lists the international operation centers and their year of opening.
List of Overseas Holtec Corporate Entities
|Holtec Ukraine||Kiev, Ukraine||2007|
|Holtec Asia||Pune, India||2010|
|Sizlon (Holtec UK)||London, UK||2013|
|Holtec Africa||Johannesburg, South Africa||2016|
|Holtec Arabia||Dubai, UAE||2017|
|Holtec Brazil||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||2018|
|Holtec Europe||Madrid, Spain||2018|
Since 2014, Holtec has been actively applying its innovative instincts to develop technologies to decommission shuttered nuclear plants within six to eight years after regulatory approvals (with the exception of the temporary dry storage installation), in contrast to the so-called SAFSTOR which envisages deferring the deconstruction of the shuttered plant by as long as 60 years. Technologies for low dose reactor segmentation, structural-mechanics guided de-construction, and indigenously developed state-of-the-art project management software are among the many innovations that are being introduced in the decommissioning industry.
Closure –The Holtec Way
With billions of dollars in existing backlog and a robust outlook for new contracts around the globe, we look forward to a consequential future as a first-tier company in carbon-free energy technology. The innovation-propelled past has given Holtec a large body of patents and proprietary technologies which the Company stands poised to leverage into growing sales and expanding product lines. Encouraged by the contours of the past successes, we are committed to ensure the future prosperity of our key stakeholders and the Company. At Holtec, our drive for innovation, melded with supreme quality and safety, coupled with a “client-first” culture of service, will continue to shape our future.
Established the same year the Chernobyl disaster struck humankind and tarnished the public image of nuclear energy, Holtec was born as a contrarian company. The Company has thrived despite the slowdown in the nuclear industry despite the shocks of Chernobyl and Fukushima: Holtec’s business has grown at the rate of 20% on average every year. We attribute the overwhelming client endorsements to what we call the Holtec waywhich consists of three basic precepts:
- Drive the development of innovative technologies that advance the state-of-the-art and disrupt the status-quo. Always strive to be “A Generation Ahead by Design.”
- Ensure that complete client satisfaction is our top priority at all times.
- Lead the industry in every metric of quality and safety.
The above three elements of the Holtec Way continue to define our modus operandi even as our operations become more complex and geographically extant.The Holtec way has been validated by the unprecedented level of client loyalty that the Company has enjoyed in every part of the world. No customer has ever left us after the first order: once a Holtec customer, always a Holtec customer.
This fierce client allegiance undergirding the Company’s sustained rise has been a direct result of the competent and dedicated service provided by our personnel at all levels of operations. An intensely loyal workforce imbued with deep sense of pride in the Company and an abiding commitment to serve the client has been called Holtec’s “secret sauce” by the industry observers. It is an essential component of the Holtec Way.
Hewing to the Holtec Way in the new century, the Company has sought to advance from market leadership to industry pre-eminence in the energy generation industry. The most notable examples of disruptive technologies introduced by the Company in this century are in the areas of used fuel storage & transport, and small modular reactors (SMRs).