SEOUL, April 14 (Korea Bizwire) — As President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol plans to retract the current Moon Jae-in government’s nuclear phase-out policy, South Korean companies are eyeing small modular reactors (SMRs) as the source of next-generation energy.
SK Inc., the holding company of conglomerate SK Group, has been considering investing in SMRs with the group’s energy and chemical affiliate SK Innovation Co. since the middle of last year, industry sources said.
The subject and size of investment, however, remains to be determined.
The company has been taking particular interest in TerraPower, an American nuclear reactor design startup established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Meanwhile, local plant builder Doosan Enerbility, formerly known as Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., had previously invested US$100 million in NuScale Power, the world’s top SMR firm led by its original reactor design technology.
Doosan Enerbility also took charge of manufacturing and supplying initial equipment needed for the construction of the NuScale Power SMR, aiming for commercial operation by 2029.
Last September, the company signed a contract with X-energy, an American high-temp gas cooled SMR developer, for the design of a primary plant.
South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries Co. is looking at the marine SMR market. Along with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, the company is developing a nuclear powered ship equipped with a molten salt reactor (MSR).
The company has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Seaborg Technologies, an Danish MSR developer, to develop marine propulsion systems and floating nuclear power plants.
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)