South Korean national financial institutions K-Sure (Korea Trade Insurance Corporation) and Kexim (Export-Import Bank of Korea) have both signed agreements with US-based Holtec International and Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction to provide financial support for SMR-160 projects around the world.

Holtec's 160 MWe small modular reactor (SMR) is a pressurised light-water reactor using low-enriched uranium fuel. The reactor core and nuclear steam supply system components would be located underground, according to the design. Other features include a passive cooling system that would be able to operate indefinitely after shutdown. No active components, such as pumps, are needed to run the reactor, which does not need any on-site or off-site power to shut down and to dissipate decay heat.

The design, which has been in development since 2010, has completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's three-phase pre-licensing vendor design review and is undergoing pre-licensing activities with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Holtec has also applied for a Generic Design Assessment of the SMR-160 in the UK.

Holtec’s collaboration agreement with Hyundai E&C and K-Sure was announced during the Korea-US Advanced Industry & Clean Energy Partnership Event hosted by Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy in Washington DC in April. Holtec said the agreement calls for "an expansion of nuclear power plant deployments to underpin the global growth of clean energy and decarbonisation of the environment". Hyundai E&C said it expected the agreement to accelerate the global advancement of the Korean NPP business “by establishing a multilateral support system of public financial institutions for technical cooperation between Hyundai E&C and Holtec”.

Holtec and Hyundai E&C also signed a financial support agreement with Kexim to "facilitate the adoption of SMR-160 reactors around the globe promoting the urgently needed decarbonisation of the environment".

In November 2021, Holtec and Hyundai E&C signed a teaming agreement whereby Hyundai E&C will perform the detailed design of the balance of plant and prepare the full plant construction specification for the SMR-160. Hyundai will also develop the integrated 3D plant model for construction using its Building Information Modelling management process. The partnership also provides for conditional project delivery rights for Hyundai. In October 2022, it was agreed to accelerate the programme to complete the balance of plant design of the remaining systems and structures.

During the Washington event, Kexin President & Chairman Hee-sung Yoon recalled the key role played by Hyundai founder u-yung Chung, in shaping the inception and rise of the Kexim bank and pledged his support to the Hyundai/Holtec team for the deployment of SMR-160 reactors. Holtec CEO Dr Kris Singh welcomed the strong business ties forged by Holtec and Hyundai while Hyundai E&C CEO Young-joon Yoon expressed his unwavering commitment to ensure the success of the Hyundai/Holtec partnership.

The Washington even also saw Doosan Enerbility and Kexim signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate with NuScale Power, while SK and Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power agreed to collaborate with TerraPower.

Image (from left to right): Hyundai E&C President and CEO, Young-joon Yoon; Holtec President and CEO, Kris Singh; Korean Minister of Trade, Industry & Energy, Chang-yang Lee; and K-Sure President & Chairman, Inho Lee (courtesy of Holtec)

Date: Wednesday, 10 May 2023
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