State electricity company joins small modular reactor projects with Canadian partners  

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : November 29, 2023, 17:48 Updated : December 6, 2023, 10:11
Courtesy of ARC Clean Technology
[Courtesy of ARC Clean Technology]
SEOUL -- Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, a state operator of South Korea's nuclear power plants, has partnered with ARC Clean Technology, a small modular reactor developer in Canada, to take part in businesses related to nuclear reactors that are claimed to be smaller and safer than the conventional reactors. The South Korean company will cooperate to commercialize ARC's technology in various countries including the United States, Canada, and South Korea.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) have been studied to offer solutions to the challenges associated with traditional light-water reactors. These compact reactors, designed with modular technology, often allow for less on-site construction, increased containment efficiency, and enhanced safety.

ARC Clean Technology said Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) would collaborate on the design, construction, project management, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of its SMR-related businesses. The project involves NB Power, a state-run power utility based in Canada's eastern province "New Brunswick."

Since 2018, the two Canadian companies have cooperated to develop ARC-100, a sodium-cooled fast reactor capable of generating a minimum of 100 megawatts of electricity. The ARC-100 project is being carried out at NB Power's nuclear power plant in New Brunswick. 

"ARC is extremely excited to explore opportunities for collaboration with KHNP, one of the world’s largest nuclear operators," ARC CEO Bill Labbe said in a statement on November 28. "This agreement builds on the successful partnership we have established with NB Power in the Canadian market, and is the first step towards our companies working together to bring the ARC-100 to a global market."

"While our tripartite collaboration is in its early stages, I am confident that, leveraging our extensive know-how gained through 40 years of development and operation of nuclear reactors both at home and abroad, we will advance strengthened by a strong partnership with NB Power and ARC Clean Technology," said KHNP CEO Whang Joo-ho.

The South Korean government and companies are striving to take a leading position in the development and commercialization of SMRs. In May 2022, Samsung C&T, a Samsung Group unit involved in trade, investment, and construction, agreed with NuScale Power, an SMR company in the U.S., to cooperate as a strategic partner in SMR projects in Romania and other nations in Eastern Europe.

Hyundai Engineering & Construction, a prominent builder affiliated with South Korea's Hyundai auto group, signed an agreement with its American partner Holtec in October 2022 to participate in the detailed design necessary for the installation of Holtec's SMR-160. SMR-160 is a 160-megawatt-class pressurized water reactor designed to efficiently dissipate heat from the nuclear fuel without the need for pumps or motors.
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