PT Pertamina Power Indonesia and Denmark’s Seaborg have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly explore and assess how the next generation nuclear power technology could be utilised both to meet Indonesia’s future clean energy needs including a target of achieving net zero carbon emission by 2060.

Under the MOU the two parties will assess the scope of an initial project leading to the possible commercial deployment of Seaborg’s Compact Molten Salt Reactor (CMSR) Power Barge. Based on the initial project results, potential follow-up projects will be considered. The utilisation of the energy could be for Power to Grid, directly to industry or Power-to-X and fuel production comprising hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol.

Based on the results of the studies, further collaboration such as the development and deployment of CMSR Power Barge with a capacity between 200-800 MWe will be considered. Although the economics have yet to be finalised, an estimated investment of $1-3bn would be require. Once the project has matured to investment ready, both parties intend to attract foreign direct investments to realise the project.

?Seaborg's design is for modular CMSR power barges equipped with up to eight 100 MWe CMSRs, with an operational life of 24 years. The CMSR's fuel is mixed in a liquid salt that also acts as a coolant, which means that it will simply shut down and solidify in case of emergency. However, low-enriched fluoride fuel salt is not yet commercially available, so Seaborg recently announced the initial power barges will be fuelled with low-enriched uranium (LEU).

In July, Seaborg signed a letter of intent with Norsk Kjernekraft to investigate the possible deployment of Seaborg's CMSR in Norway.

Seaborg has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Kepco Nuclear Fuel and GS Engineering & Construction to collaborate on investigating the feasibility of developing an LEU fuel salt production facility in South Korea. In 2022, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and Seaborg signed a memorandum of understanding to manufacture and sell turnkey power plants combining SHI's ship-building expertise and Seaborg's CMSR. It also covered the development of hydrogen production plants and ammonia plants.

Indonesia has long flirted with molten salt technology. In May, four Danish companies – Topsoe, Alfa Laval, Copenhagen Atomics, and Aalborg supported a project to use small modular reactors (SMRs) to produce energy for ammonia production by Indonesia companies Pupuk Kaltim along with Pertamina New & Renewable Energy.

The nuclear power plant will be capable of producing 1 GWe from 25 molten salt thorium SMRs supplied by Copenhagen Atomics. The project was estimated to cost around $4bn.

The previous month, US-based nuclear company ThorCon signed an agreement with the Indonesia’s Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (Bapeten) to officially start a safety, security, & safeguards (3S) consultation in preparation for licensing the 500 MW demonstration NPP based on Thorcon’s thorium molten salt technology. Thorcon has been offering its technology to various Indonesian companies and organisations since 2014.

Image: Artist's impression of Seaborg's CMSR power barge (courtesy of Seaborg)

Date: Friday, 15 September 2023
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