LeadCold considers Studsvik for SEALER-D reactor

06 March 2023

Swedish lead-cooled small nuclear reactor (SMR) technology developer LeadCold is to conduct a feasibility study on the construction and operation of a demonstration SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor) with associated infrastructure for fuel fabrication in Studsvik.

Studsvik AB's site in Studsvik (Image: Studsvik AB)

The SEALER-D reactor is planned to have a thermal output of 80 MW. As in future commercial reactors from Leadcold, the fuel rods will be cooled by 800 tonnes of liquid lead. The reactor will have a height and diameter of about 5 metres.

The company said that building the research reactor is an important step for Leadcold to start mass producing SMRs for a global market. LeadCold's goal is for its first 140 MWt SEALER-55 commercial reactor to be ready for operation by 2030, assuming that permission to conduct nuclear activities is granted.

"Sweden needs more baseload power that can complement the rapid and important expansion of wind and solar," said Leadcold CEO Jacob Stedman. "This reactor will be the first step towards the next generation of nuclear for cheap and safe baseload electricity. We look forward to now starting to investigate the conditions for Sweden's next research reactor in collaboration with Studsvik AB, the municipality and the authorities."

"It is positive that Leadcold is investigating the possibilities for a research reactor at Studsvik, where we can contribute with our unique and world-leading expertise," said Joakim Lundström, Business Area President Fuel and Materials Technology at Studsvik AB.

In a statement, Studsvik AB said: "Such a development would fit well within the other research and development activities taking place on our site. We look forward to helping to contribute towards LeadCold's evaluation with our diverse array of expertise ranging from nuclear fuel, reactor materials, and testing development and infrastructure to our efficient solutions for waste handling, and we hope our site proves a suitable location for their reactor."

Uniper Sweden, LeadCold and 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 nuclear power plant site by 2030. The partners received a SEK99 million grant from the Swedish Energy Agency towards building a 2.5 MWt non-nuclear prototype (SEALER-E) at Oskarshamn.

The SEALER design generates 55 MWe over a 10-30 year period without refueling. After operation, the first SEALER units will be transported to a centralised recycling facility.

"The development of new nuclear power must take place in close cooperation with the municipality, the government and the authorities," Stedman said. "Sweden has become a very good country to develop the nuclear power of the future in. We have committed political decision-makers, competent authorities, and consumers and industry who want cheap and green electricity. We look forward to taking the first step towards building Sweden's next nuclear reactor."

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