Korea considers deployment of NuScale SMR for hydrogen production

10 May 2023

Private power generation company GS Energy has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Uljin County in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, to consider the use of NuScale Power's small modular reactor (SMR) technology to provide heat and power to the planned Uljin Nuclear Hydrogen National Industrial Complex.

How a VOYGR-6 plant could appear (Image: UAMPS)

Under the MoU - signed on 4 May - the two parties will collaborate on a feasibility study for the construction of a NuScale VOYGR-6 SMR power plant within the Nuclear Hydrogen National Industrial Complex. They will also cooperate in supplying electricity and heat to the complex and involve partner companies in the project.

"Our goal is to build an industrial complex centred around nuclear and hydrogen energy by recruiting more hydrogen companies that can benefit from an SMR plant, the primary role of which is to supply eco-friendly power to the industrial complex," Uljin County Governor Sohn Byong-bok told The Korea Economic Daily.

According to The Korea Economic Daily, Uljin County plans to build an SMR plant with six NuScale SMR modules. Construction of the SMR plant would begin in 2028, considering that it is projected to take about five years to receive approval for its construction from the Korean government. It is expected to be completed by 2030 when the industrial park is scheduled to open. Once the SMR plant is completed, GS Energy will operate it.

"We expect that the Uljin Nuclear Hydrogen National Industrial Complex Project, which is being promoted by the county, will gain momentum through this MoU, and through close cooperation with the central government departments such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Industry, the project will be carried out smoothly," said Sohn Byong-bok. "We will actively cooperate to make it possible."

Construction of the KRW400 billion (USD300 million) Uljin Nuclear Hydrogen National Industrial Complex in Ulchin began in 2022 as part of South Korea's efforts to promote hydrogen as a future energy source and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Korean government plans to build national industrial complexes to foster high-tech industries such as semiconductors, future mobilities and robots in 14 regions across the country in addition to the world's largest semiconductor cluster planned in the Seoul metropolitan area.

In June 2021, NuScale Power announced it had finalised an investment agreement with GS Energy North America Investments - the US entity of South Korea's GS Energy. As part of a long-term strategic relationship established under that agreement, GS Energy would provide a cash investment in NuScale and support deployment of its plants. The two parties would also look to develop regional NuScale power plant service delivery opportunities.

NuScale in April 2022 signed an MoU with its South Korean partners, Samsung C&T Corporation, Doosan Enerbility and GS Energy to explore the deployment of NuScale's VOYGR power plants. That MoU built upon a series of investments made by the three companies starting in 2019, and then again in June and July of 2021. As part of the MOU, the companies would explore jointly studying, planning, and developing deployment of VOYGR power plants in specific locations where mutually agreed.

The NuScale Power Module on which the VOYGR nuclear power plants are based is a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single 77 MWe unit. It is the first SMR design to receive approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company offers a 12-module VOYGR-12 power plant is capable of generating 924 MWe as well as the four-module VOYGR-4 (308 MWe) and six-module VOYGR-6 (462 MWe) plants and other configurations based on customer needs.

A six-module plant is to be built near Idaho Falls in the USA as the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems-led Carbon Free Power Project, expected to be operational by 2030.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News