South Korea’s SK Group has announced an investment of $250 million (£213m) in TerraPower, which develops small modular reactors (SMRs) for nuclear power stations and was founded by billionaire Bill Gates.
The equity investment will enable SK to join TerraPower’s nuclear reactor commercialisation projects in Korea and Southeast Asia.
TerraPower’s Natrium SFR technology transfers the heat released from nuclear fission caused by high-speed neutrons to liquid sodium coolant, during which steam is generated and used to produce electricity.
The fourth-generation nuclear energy technology is said to offer significant improvements in safety and economic performance compared to the previous generation of reactors that are currently in use.
According to the company, Natrium also employs molten salt energy storage, allowing the reactor to quickly change its power – enabling it to operate with renewable generation sources.
In 2021, SK Group pledged to reduce 200 million tons of carbon emissions by 2030, which accounts for 1% of the global target.
The latest investment also follows the company’s ambition to achieve a net zero footprint as part of the global initiative to address climate change.
An SK spokesperson said: “SK intends to amplify the synergies with TerraPower by bringing together TerraPower’s innovative, next-generation nuclear technology and production capability for therapeutic radioisotopes with SK’s diverse energy and biotech portfolios.
“Along with its investments in TerraPower, SK plans to continue its business innovation and technology development to contribute to reducing global carbon emissions.”