Thailand considers deployment of Seaborg power barge

30 April 2024

Thai innovative and sustainable power company Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Denmark's Seaborg Technologies ApS to explore the potential deployment of the compact molten salt reactor (CMSR) Power Barge in Thailand.

The signing of the MoU between GPSC and Seaborg (Image: GPSC)

The MoU was signed at Denmark's embassy in Bangkok on 24 April by GPSC President and CEO Worawat Pitayasiri and Seaborg CEO Klaus Nyengaard.

Under the MoU, GPSC - a subsidiary of Thai state-owned oil and gas company PTT Group - and Seaborg will assess how the CMSR Power Barge could be utilised in Thailand to support the country's transition to net-zero. They will use the assessment to scope an initial project where the commercial deployment of the CMSR Power Barge is feasible and commercially viable.

The study - expected to take about four years to complete - is intended to explore the use of the carbon-free electricity generated from Seaborg´s Power Barge to feed directly into the grid, as well as explore the potential use of the steam generated during operations.

Once the project has matured to investment-ready, both parties intend to attract foreign direct investments to realise the project. Based on the results of the studies, further collaboration, such as the development and deployment of a CMSR Power Barge with a capacity of between 200 MWe and 800 MWe, will be considered.

"GPSC is taking a leading role in exploring nuclear SMR technology in Thailand, and we are very excited to work with them," Nyengaard said. "Our expertise in nuclear will support GPSC development to strictly comply with the international requirements and both parties could exchange best practices for the joint feasibility.  On top, we see new nuclear as a great addition to the Thai energy mix in transforming the future of energy in Thailand, setting a great example for newcomer countries to nuclear."

Seaborg's design is for modular CMSR power barges equipped with between two and eight 100 MWe CMSRs, with an operational life of 24 years. Instead of having solid fuel rods that need constant cooling, the CMSR's fuel is mixed in a liquid salt that acts as a coolant, which means that it will simply shut down and solidify in case of emergency. However, the low-enriched fluoride fuel salt is not yet commercially available, so Seaborg recently announced the initial power barges will be fuelled with low-enriched uranium (LEU).

In September last year, Indonesian power company Pertamina NRE signed an MoU with Seaborg to investigate the deployment of Seaborg's CMSR Power Barge in Indonesia.

The timeline for Seaborg, which was founded in 2014, is for commercial prototypes of its CMSR to be built in 2026 with commercial production of Power Barges beginning from 2028.

Fuel production agreement

On 6 March, Kepco Nuclear Fuel (KNF), GS Engineering & Construction and Seaborg signed an agreement for the feasibility study of CMSR nuclear fuel production development. This agreement follows the MoU for CMSR Nuclear Fuel Production between KNF, Seaborg and GS E&C, which was signed last June.

The signing of the fuel production agreement (Image: Seaborg)

The new agreement will facilitate a joint feasibility study, enabling all parties to determine the project's scope and timeline for establishing fuel salt production in accordance with their respective roles and collaborative endeavours.

"KNF possesses unique technology, enabling us to access future-growth technologies and pave the way for market expansion into Europe," said KNF President & CEO Choi Ik-Soo. "Moving forward, we are committed to advancing nuclear fuel technology through ongoing research and development, while expanding our presence in international markets. Our ultimate goal is to establish ourselves as a prominent global player in the nuclear fuel industry, fostering future growth and innovation."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News