Hyundai Engineering partners with nuclear power research institute to export homemade small reactors

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : December 11, 2023, 15:06 Updated : December 11, 2023, 15:06
Courtesy of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute
[Courtesy of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute]
SEOUL -- South Korea's major builder Hyundai Engineering has partnered with a state-run atomic energy research institute to export the country's homemade small nuclear reactor, claimed to be smaller and more efficient than conventional nuclear reactors. Starting with Canada, the South Korean company is considering supplying the "system-integrated modular advanced reactor" to the United States, India, and Uzbekistan.  

The system-integrated modular advanced reactor (SMART) is a pressurized water reactor that can be used for thermal purposes, such as the generation of energy for seawater desalination. The small reactor, developed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) is one-tenth the size of a large nuclear power plant and can be installed even in remote areas such as islands and mountainous regions.

In 2012, SMART received standard design approval from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission under the Prime Minister's Office. The KAERI signed an agreement with the Canadian province of Alberta to provide SMART to reduce carbon emissions in the resource-rich province. The South Korean institute is also working with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) in September to commercialize SMART in Alberta and Ontario.

Hyundai Engineering said the company reached a consensus with the KAERI for the distribution of SMART in foreign countries. Hyundai Engineering will share its business expertise with the SMART developer, drawing on its experience in Canada. "Starting with Canada, which is in the process of energy conversion to SMRs (small modular reactors), we will review expansion to other nations such as Uzbekistan, the U.S., and India," an unnamed Hyundai Engineering official said in a statement on December 11. 

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.
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