Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) [009540:KS], a holding company of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group [267250:KS] in the shipbuilding sector, signed an agreement to invest USD30m in TerraPower, a US nuclear reactor designer and developer founded by Bill Gates, to develop small modular reactor (SMR) technologies, as reported by the Korea Economic Daily on November 4. TerraPower’s proprietary technology to build next-gen SMRs can help KSOE reduce greenhouse gas emissions during the power generation process. KSOE’s investment in TerraPower is part of the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group’s effort to establish a hydrogen value chain by 2030. Hyundai Heavy Industries Group is also seeking to develop technologies such as hydrogen transportation by ship to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Before KSOE, SK Group [034730:KS] also invested USD250m in TerraPower.
SMRs are nuclear fission reactors with up to 300 megawatts (MW) of power capacity per unit. They are significantly smaller than traditional nuclear power reactors, therefore can be built in locations that are not suitable for large power reactors. Using modular factory fabrication technology, SMRs can be easily developed, assembled, and transported as several submodules onsite. SMRs’ greenhouse gas emissions are around one-third of conventional nuclear power plants. However, the modular feature of SMRs might lead to safety issues in the electricity sector.