Nuclear Power

21 Jun 2023

Korean, Danish Companies Team Up on Leu Fuel Salt Supply

21 Jun 2023  by world-nuclear-news   
Kepco Nuclear Fuel (KNF) and GS Engineering & Construction, together with Denmark's Seaborg Technologies, are to investigate the feasibility of developing a low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel salt production facility in South Korea. Seaborg is developing compact molten salt reactor (CMSR) technology.

The signing of the partnership agreement (Image: Seaborg)

Seaborg's design is for modular CMSR power barges equipped with two to eight 100 MWe CMSRs, with an operational life of 24 years. Instead of having solid fuel rods that need constant cooling, the CMSR's fuel is mixed in a liquid salt that acts as a coolant, which means that it will simply shut down and solidify in case of emergency. However, the low-enriched fluoride fuel salt is not yet commercially available.

Announcing the partnership with KNF and GS E&C, Seaborg said: "The three companies share the common vision of pursuing a position within fluoride fuel salt supply for the global 4th generation nuclear energy market."

Seaborg noted that "KNF brings extensive nuclear fuel production and fluorides handling knowledge, while GS E&C have broad experience in a variety of engineering and construction projects".

Seaborg added it "is engaged with a number of research partners covering different aspects of the fuel salt and its properties, and the partners thus have a solid foundation to investigate the path to commercialisation of fuel salt production".

"We are excited to enter a collaboration with such esteemed companies bringing us one step closer to securing LEU fuel salt for our CMSR," said Seaborg CEO Navid Samandari. "This agreement further strengthens Seaborg's engagement with Korean industrial partners."

KNF President & CEO Choi Ik-Soo added: "Kepco Nuclear Fuel wants to explore adding molten salt fuel for 4th generation reactors to our portfolio, enabling us to stay on the forefront of nuclear fuel development."

"The development within molten salt reactors looks promising, and nuclear fuel for 4th generation reactors is a very interesting business opportunity for GS E&C, which fits very well with our long-term strategic goals," said GS E&C Chief Technology Officer Kim Young-Shin.

In April, Seaborg established a consortium with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) to develop floating nuclear power plants featuring Seaborg's CMSR technology. The consortium's first project is expected to be a 200 MWe Power Barge. In April 2022, SHI and Seaborg signed a memorandum of understanding to manufacture and sell turnkey power plants combining SHI's ship-building expertise and Seaborg's CMSR. It also covered the development of hydrogen production plants and ammonia plants. SHI announced in January that it had completed the conceptual design for the CMSR Power Barge and obtained the basic certification of the design from the American Bureau of Shipping.

The timeline for Seaborg, which was founded in 2014, is for commercial prototypes of its CMSR to be built in 2026 with commercial production of Power Barges beginning from 2028.


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