USA-Ukraine announce cooperation on clean fuels from SMRs

14 November 2022

Ukraine and the USA have announced a project to demonstrate the production of hydrogen and ammonia using small modular reactor (SMR) and innovative electrolysis technologies in Ukraine. The public-private consortium also includes Japanese and South Korean companies.

Kerry announcing the cooperation project at COP27 (Image: John Kerry / Twitter)

The project was announced by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at the COP27 Climate Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The project, which will run for 2-3 years, involves the work of a public-private consortium on scientific and practical developments for SMRs.

Participating partners from the USA include Argonne National Laboratory, Clark Seed, FuelCell Energy, NuScale and Starfire Energy. On the Ukraine side, participants include nuclear operator Energoatom, the National Security and Defence Council, and the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety.

In addition, Korea's Doosan Energy and Samsung C&T and Japan's IHI Corporation and JGC Corporation will also participate in the consortium.

The project aims to evaluate and demonstrate the technical capability, economic competitiveness, as well as the possibility of production and use of hydrogen and ammonia on an industrial scale from SMRs using solid oxide electrolysis. For this purpose, it is planned to construct a pilot plant and carry out a corresponding technical and economic analysis of its operation.

"Building on existing capacity-building cooperation launched under the US Foundational Infrastructure for Responsible Use of SMR Technology (FIRST) programme, the project seeks to support Ukraine's energy security goals, enable decarbonisation of hard-to-abate energy sectors through clean hydrogen generation, and improve long-term food security through clean ammonia-produced fertilisers," the US Department of State said in a statement. "Further, it aims to demonstrate Ukraine's innovative clean energy leadership through the use of advanced technologies."

"Even during the war, we do not stop in modeling the new energy future of Ukraine," Ukrainian Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko said in a statement. "Carbon-free energy is one of the world's main focuses in technological development. Of course, Ukraine, with our experience and potential in atomic energy, will also take an active part in the implementation of the world agenda."

He added: "The achievements of the international public-private consortium will be used to build, after our victory, a new energy system of Ukraine and will speed up our 'green transition'".

Energoatom signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NuScale to explore the deployment of its technology in September 2021. In December, the US Trade and Development Agency announced it will support Ukrainian authorities to assess NuScale's small reactor technology, with a view to future exports.

Kerry also announced the USA had launched a new initiative, referred to as Project Phoenix, to accelerate the transition in Europe of coal-fired plants to SMRs while retaining local jobs through workforce retraining. The project, the State Department said, will provide direct US support for coal-to-SMR feasibility studies and related activities in support of energy security goals for countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News