SK Group [034730:KS] will invest USD250m in TerraPower, a US small modular reactor (SMR) startup founded by Bill Gates, as reported by The Korea Herald on August 15. SMRs are nuclear reactors that are significantly smaller than conventional reactors, enabling users to deploy nuclear power where large reactors are not viable. In addition, SMR technology has the potential to significantly reduce nuclear waste compared to traditional reactors while maintaining a high level of safety. According to SK Group President Chey Tae-won, SK’s goal is to accelerate the achievement of carbon neutrality in South Korea and Southeast Asia through the use of new generation SMRs. This is the first investment in TerraPower from SK Group. According to an industry source in April of this year, SK Group planned to acquire 10% of TerraPower’s shares.
In 2021, SK Group proposed achieving zero emissions ahead of the global carbon neutrality objective of 2050, with plans to reduce carbon emissions by 200m tons by 2030 (about 1% of the worldwide carbon reduction target of 21bn tons). Since then, SK has been interested in SMR as a low-carbon, safe energy source. SK will participate in TerraPower’s project to commercialize next-generation SMRs with the investment. In addition to SK Group, other firms are also increasing their footprint in the SMR business. South Korea’s Doosan Enerbility [034020:KS] has recently inked a deal to supply SMR equipment to US power company NuScale Power [SMR:US]. NuScale Power can build up to 12 SMRs under the deal, each of which can create 77 megawatts (MW) of power, for a total of 924 MW of power.