Newcleo and Tosto Group team up on LFR development

11 October 2023

Newcleo, the UK-headquartered developer of small modular lead-cooled fast reactors (LFRs), has signed a cooperation and investment agreement with the Tosto Group to advance the industrialisation of Newcleo's reactors.

The signing of the agreement (Image: Newcleo)

The Tosto Group consists of seven companies headquartered in Italy and Romania. The two major enterprises - Walter Tosto and Belleli Energy CPE - are worldwide suppliers of critical and long lead process equipment.

The cooperation between Newcleo and the Tosto Group will see a synergetic, rolling long-term contract of collaboration that encompasses all stages of Newcleo's project: research, design and demonstration to industrialisation of its reactors. The partnership will be further strengthened by a work for equity mechanism that will allow the Tosto Group to fully invest in Newcleo.

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.

In this first stage of the cooperation, the companies' joint efforts will focus on: fabrication and installation sequence studies; installation tools and jigs conceptualisation; transportation plans; storage and site erection instructions; research, development and qualification on structural materials and coatings, also via participation to EU-funded programmes; and code evolution recommendations relevant for LFR construction.

"At Newcleo we are setting ourselves up for success, putting in place partnerships with the leaders of the relevant sectors," Newcleo Chairman and CEO Stefano Buono said. "We are laser-focused on our very ambitious timelines of delivery, and this industrial partnership with the Tosto Group will help us further ground our vision. They bring strong and proven expertise to ensure we are set up for the best manufacturing for our large reactor components."

"We are proud to collaborate with Newcleo, a forward-thinking leader in Gen-IV nuclear technology," added Tosto Group Managing Director Luca Tosto. "This partnership reflects our commitment to innovation and sustainable energy solutions and underscores our dedication to the nuclear sector, where we are actively investing and expanding our business division. Together, we will drive advancements in manufacturing and contribute to the success of Newcleo's pioneering projects."

The first step of 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, rapidly followed by a 200 MWe commercial unit in the UK.

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 completed its previously announced 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. "Under Newcleo's ownership, SRS-Fucina Group will continue to serve its blue chip customer base and generate revenue, whilst becoming integral to the delivery of Newcleo's ambitious plans," Newcleo said.

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, which will be constructed outside of Italy, which has a moratorium on the construction of nuclear power plants.

In March 2022, Newcleo signed a framework agreement with ENEA, the Italian national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News