Hyundai E&C enters the SMR market in cooperation with the US reactor manufacturer Holtec

[Courtesy of Hyundai E&C]

SEOUL – Hyundai E&C, a major manufacturer in South Korea, has entered the small modular reactor market in collaboration with Holtec International, a US company specializing in the design and manufacture of parts for nuclear reactors.

As part of a teaming agreement, Hyundai E&C and Holtec would jointly develop a commercialization model, promote joint projects and jointly participate in marketing and tenders. Small modular reactors (SMRs) allow for less on-site construction, higher containment efficiency, and improved safety.

Hyundai E&C, affiliated with South Korean auto group Hyundai, said it will cement its position as a key player in SMR. The Holtec SMR-160 is a pressurized water reactor with an electrical output of 160 megawatts (MWe) that does not depend on pumps or motors to remove the heat from the nuclear fuel.

“With this contract, we have laid the foundation stone to move away from order and construction-oriented business towards a solution partner for construction preparation such as the development of new technologies, worldwide sales, purchasing and construction,” said Hyundai E&C CEO Yoon Young- joon said in a statement on Nov. 24.

Yoon said his company would be reborn as a total solution developer spanning all areas from investment and development to operations by focusing all of our efforts on promoting new businesses like automation and smart cities.

Holtec’s SMR-160 verified its safety through potential virtual risk simulation, Hyundai told E&C, adding that the reactor can be installed in small locations and connected to existing small modular nuclear power plants. SMR-160 is pending approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a US government agency.

South Korea has adopted a new energy policy to accelerate the development of advanced SMRs. South Korean scientists are trying to develop concepts for a modular microreactor (MMR) that could be operated for about 40 years without changing fuel.

The state-owned Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) has partnered with Samsung Heavy Industries to develop a small carbon-free fission reactor based on molten salt for use in ships and floating nuclear power plants. Molten salt reactors (MSRs) can reduce expensive containment structures, eliminate hydrogen as a source of explosion risks and do not produce radioactive fission gases.

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