The company provided design, engineering, manufacturing, construction and facilities management services to nuclear, renewable, fossil power, industrial and government customers worldwide. B&W's boilers supply more than 300,000 megawatts of installed capacity in over 90 countries around the world. A reactor from B&W was destroyed by a nuclear meltdown in the Three Mile Island accident. During World War II, over half of the US Navy fleet was powered by Babcock & Wilcox boilers.
B&W Power Generation Group, Inc. (B&W PGG) is based in Barberton, Ohio and provides engineering, design, construction and manufacturing services to the fossil and renewable power generation sectors and to heavy industry worldwide. B&W PGG and its subsidiaries have facilities in Ohio; Wisconsin; Arona, Italy; Beijing, China; Esbjerg, Denmark; and technology licensees around the world.
In 1867, Providence, Rhode Island, residents Stephen Wilcox and his partner George Herman Babcock patented the Babcock & Wilcox Non-Explosive Boiler, which used water filled tubes and de-nucleate boiling to generate steam more safely than either under-fire or fire-tube boilers. The boilers more safely generated higher pressure steam and was more efficient (as an energy to steam converter) than existing designs.
In 1891, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd is established as a separate United Kingdom company, to be responsible for all sales outside the US and Cuba.
On February 22, 2000, B&W filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in part as a result of thousands of claims for personal injury due to prolonged exposure to asbestos and asbestos fibers. Claims included asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. As a condition of emerging from bankruptcy, B&W created a trust fund to compensate victims, but for amounts far less than settlements paid in individual personal injury lawsuits.
After B&W emerged from bankruptcy in 2006, B&W and BWX Technologies, both subsidiaries of the McDermott International, Inc., merged on 26 November 2007 to form The Babcock & Wilcox Companies, headed by President John Fees. The old company logo was changed.
On June 10, 2009, B&W unveiled B&W Modular Nuclear Energy, LLC (B&W MNE). On the same day, B&W MNE announced its plans to design and develop the B&W mPower reactor, a modular, scalable nuclear reactor. The B&W mPower reactor design is a 125 megawatt, passively safe Advanced Light Water Reactor (ALWR) (a Generation III reactor) with a below-ground containment structure. The reactor is set to be manufactured in a factory, shipped by rail, then buried underground.
On May 12, 2010, B&W announced that it and its subsidiaries would be spun off from its parent company, McDermott International, Inc. The headquarters moved from Lynchburg, Virginia to Charlotte. and the company became The Babcock & Wilcox Company.
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