Funding for demonstration Swedish SMR

15 February 2022

The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded Swedish Modular Reactors AB - a joint venture between Uniper Sweden and LeadCold - funding of just over SEK99 million (USD10.6 million) in support of the construction of a demonstration LeadCold SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor) lead-cooled small modular reactor at the Oskarshamn plant site.

LeadCold is designing a multi-unit SEALER-55 concept that may be deployed on existing nuclear power sites in Sweden in the 2030s, if market conditions are right (Image: LeadCold)

Uniper Sweden, LeadCold and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) announced in February 2021 they would collaborate on exploring the possibility of constructing a demonstration LeadCold SEALER reactor at the Oskarshamn plant site by 2030. The partners also said they had applied to the Swedish Energy Agency for a grant of SEK125 million towards building a non-nuclear prototype at Oskarshamn. Eventually, the goal of the collaboration is to enable the commercialisation of these reactors in Sweden in the 2030s.

The Swedish Energy Agency has now awarded the partners SEK99 million to put towards building an electrically powered non-nuclear prototype SEALER at Oskarshamn for testing and verifying materials and technology in an environment of molten lead at high temperatures. The 1:56 scale prototype will be operated for five years starting in 2024.

An academic network based at KTH is connected to the project. The Sunrise (Sustainable Nuclear Research In Sweden) project - whose partners include KTH, LuleƄ University and Uppsala University - has already received SEK50 million (USD6 million) in funding from the Foundation for Strategic Research to develop the design, material technology and safety analysis for an advanced lead-cooled research and demonstration reactor.

The SEALER design is claimed to generate 3-10 MWe over a 10-30 year period without refueling. After operation, the first SEALER units will be transported to a centralised recycling facility.

"The technology can eventually be developed into a cost-effective fossil-free base power and thus contribute to facilitating electrification for a transition to a fossil-free society," the Swedish Energy Agency said. It can also produce hydrogen, which can be stored until times when electricity demand is greater than production, enabling increased flexibility and stability in the electricity system, it said.

LeadCold is a spin-off from KTH in Stockholm, where lead-cooled reactor systems have been under development since 1996. The company was founded in 2013 as a joint stock company. It has a Canadian subsidiary, LeadCold Reactors Inc, which is registered in Alberta, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News