Hyundai E&C cooperates with American partner Holtec to participate in nuclear plant decommissioning

By Lim Chang-won Posted : March 30, 2022, 15:50 Updated : March 30, 2022, 15:50

[Courtesy of Hyundai E&C]

SEOUL -- Hyundai Engineering & Construction, a major builder affiliated with South Korea's Hyundai auto group, will participate in the decommissioning of defunct nuclear power plants in cooperation with its American partner, Holtec International, starting with the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan in Westchester County.

Indian Point's three-unit nuclear power plant station shut down at the end of April 2021 after 45 years of operation. Holtec's decommissioning plans for Indian Point include moving used nuclear fuel from pools into a dry storage system, and dismantling and packaging highly activated parts from the nuclear reactors in high capacity containers. 

With a teaming agreement with Holtec, which specializes in the design and manufacture of parts for nuclear reactors, Hyundai E&C said it would become the first Koran company to participate in the dismantlement of nuclear power plants in the American market. It would help accumulated technologies and secure orders for domestic nuclear dismantling projects. 

Hyundai E&C said the two companies would jointly tap the global nuclear dismantling market and push for joint marketing and bidding. "Through strategic cooperation with Holtec, we have diversified our business and secured core competitiveness in new businesses," Hyundai E&C CEO Yoon Young-joon said in a statement on March 30. 

In November 2021, Hyundai E&C jumped into the small modular reactor (SMR) market in cooperation with Holtec. Holtec's SMR-160 is a pressurized water reactor with a capacity of 160 MWe that does not rely on any pumps or motors to remove heat from the nuclear fuel. They would jointly develop a commercialization model, promote joint projects and participate in marketing and bidding together.

SMRs, which have been studied to address the limitations of traditional light-water reactors, allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and enhanced safety. In January, the builder's sister company, Hyundai Engineering, secured exclusive rights to the global engineering, procurement and construction business of Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), the Seattle-based developer of micro modular reactors, through an equity investment worth $30 million.

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