Steady Energy taps TVO nuclear expertise

11 April 2024

Steady Energy - Finnish developer of the LDR-50 small modular reactor - has signed a collaboration agreement with TVO Nuclear Services related to the development of a nuclear heating plant, initially focusing on the planning of the nuclear facility's operation and safety.

The LDR-50 reactor design (Image: Steady Energy)

TVO Nuclear Services (TVONS) is a consulting company wholly owned by Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), owner of the Olkiluoto nuclear power plant.

The agreement gives Steady Energy access to TVO's expertise in the planning and implementation of nuclear power plant projects as well as the operation, maintenance and service life management of the plants.

Steady Energy - which last year was spun out from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland - aims to construct the first of several district heating plants based on its LDR-50 small modular reactor (SMR) technology in Finland by 2030.

"Steady Energy is working on a very interesting project, and we are glad to be involved by offering our expertise in its various areas," said TVONS Managing Director Ari Leppänen. "This allows us to participate in the clean transition also through small modular reactor projects."

"The collaboration agreement with TVONS is a significant opportunity for Steady Energy," said Steady Energy CEO Tommi Nyman. "It will further strengthen our ability to develop and, in time, to construct a small nuclear power plant that is completely based on Finnish design. The agreement also sends a strong message that Steady Energy's project is important for the development of the entire Finnish nuclear energy industry."

The LDR-50 district heating SMR - with a thermal output of 50 MW - has been under development at VTT since 2020. Designed to operate at around 150°C and below 10 bar (145 psi), Steady Energy says its "operating conditions are less demanding compared with those of traditional reactors, simplifying the technical solutions needed to meet the high safety standards of the nuclear industry".

The LDR-50 reactor module is made of two nested pressure vessels, with their intermediate space partially filled with water. When heat removal through the primary heat exchangers is compromised, water in the intermediate space begins to boil, forming an efficient passive heat transfer route into the reactor pool, the company said. The system does not rely on electricity or any mechanical moving parts, which could fail and prevent the cooling function.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News