South Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction [000720:KS], a construction subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, signed an agreement with Holtec International, a leading US company in the nuclear reactor industry, as reported by Korea Economic Daily on November 25. The two sides are set to jointly build a small modular reactor (SMR) prototype that could be located in Lacey, Washington. Under the agreement, the South Korean firm will conduct part of the plant design and prepare construction specifications for Holtec’s SMR-160 plant. The US company will serve as the chief architect for the plant with its expertise in design, engineering, manufacturing, and project delivery of nuclear components.
SMR takes up less space, costs less to build, and generates lower emissions than the existing large reactors, hence it is regarded as one of the next-generation energy sources. Moreover, the address selection of SMRs is more flexible than older nuclear plants as it can be deployed on a small area of land through modularization. Holtec expects the SMR-160 prototype to be completed by 2030. By then, the reactor could produce as much as 160 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Holtec considers Lacey to be the potential site of SMR-160 because it is decommissioning the former Oyster Creek nuclear plant in the area, which has a total generation capacity of 625MW, sufficient for the power use of over 600,000 homes. Last December, Holtec also obtained the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) funding for the SMR-160 reactor project from the US Department of Energy (DOE).