Newcleo, Nuclear AMRC collaborate on LFR fabrication

18 October 2023

Newcleo has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UK's Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) to collaborate on manufacturability, supply chain and development studies for its small modular lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) technology.

A cutaway of Newcleo's TL-30 reactor design (Image: Newcleo)

The partners said the MoU "establishes the foundation of a partnership for exploring a range of technical and business operations, including supply chain readiness assessments, investigation into potential supply chain partners, identification of entities for potential acquisition, modularisation studies, manufacturability and fabrication assessments, material and metallurgy studies, and any other future areas of interest that are in the scope of agreement between the two parties".

The Nuclear AMRC - based at the University of Sheffield and part of the UK's High Value Manufacturing Catapult - collaborates with companies of all sizes to help them win work in the nuclear sector and bring new technologies to market.

"As an organisation that has consolidated their position at the heart of the UK’s civil nuclear manufacturing industry, we are enthusiastic about this opportunity to work collaboratively alongside the Nuclear AMRC to push forward innovation in nuclear, participating in activities that will play a role in meeting our ambitious plan-to-market," said Newcleo Chairman and CEO Stefano Buono.

He added: "This partnership provides support to the development of our end-to-end industrialisation strategy, as well as our business activities in the UK. This will play a helpful role in our mission of building a new competitive industrial standard in nuclear energy and providing safe solutions to energy and environmental challenges."

Nuclear AMRC CEO Andrew Storer said: "We look forward to working with Newcleo to help bring their advanced modular reactor to market and help them tap into the capabilities of the UK's nuclear supply chain.

"Advanced reactors like Newcleo's have a vital role to play in decarbonising electricity generation and energy-intensive industrial processes, and potential development in the UK will offer significant opportunities for nuclear-ready manufacturers to win work. Our experience in manufacturing innovation and supply chain development will help them achieve their ambitions in the UK and worldwide."

The first step of London-headquartered Newcleo's delivery roadmap will be the design and construction of the first-of-a-kind 30 MWe LFR to be deployed in France by 2030, followed by a 200 MWe commercial unit in the UK two years later.

At the same time, Newcleo will directly invest in a mixed uranium/plutonium oxide (MOX) plant to fuel its reactors. In June 2022, Newcleo announced it had contracted France's Orano for feasibility studies on the establishment of a MOX production plant.

Earlier this month, Newcleo signed a cooperation and investment agreement with the Tosto Group to advance the industrialisation of Newcleo's reactors. The partners will collaborate on several activities aimed at studying and perfecting manufacturing, fabrication and installation encompassing the whole reactor life, underpinning the technological development of the LFR-AS designs with proven manufacturing and implementation expertise.

Newcleo also recently completed its acquisition of SRS Servizi Ricerche e Sviluppo Srl and of Fucina Italia Srl, jointly referred to as the SRS-Fucina Group. Both based in Italy, SRS and Fucina design and build nuclear systems deploying liquid lead technology.

In March this year, Newcleo signed an agreement with Italian utility Enel to cooperate on Newcleo's power plant projects, including taking a stake in the first plant. Under the agreement, Enel will collaborate with Newcleo on projects related to its LFR technology, providing specialised expertise through sharing a number of the company's qualified personnel. In view of the support provided, Newcleo has committed to securing an option for Enel as first investor in its initial power plant.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News