Korean team commits to R&D for marine molten salt reactors

June 14, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has announced that it will develop marine molten salt reactor (MSR) technology with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI). SHI president Jintaek Jeong and KAERI president Park Won-seok on June 9 signed an agreement to establish a strategic cooperative relationship and conduct joint research.

Salt floats? The agreement includes joint research plans for MSR element technology and related equipment development, such as heat exchangers, offshore nuclear product design and business model development, performance verification, and economic evaluation. The partners anticipate designing a reactor with an operating life of 20 years—the typical lifespan of a marine vessel—that would not require replacement or refueling during its planned lifetime.

Molten salt is also the choice of Core Power, which has previously announced partnerships with TerraPower and Southern Company and would like to have marine MSRs ready for deployment by 2030 that, like the SHI/KAERI project, would need no refueling during their lifetime.

NuScale’s modular PWR: Molten salt is not the only choice for marine power concepts. NuScale Power and Prodigy Clean Energy, a Canadian company that designs and develops marine nuclear plants, announced on May 14 a second memorandum of understanding to support business development opportunities for a marine-deployed nuclear generating station powered by the NuScale small modular reactor. NuScale and Prodigy have been collaborating since 2018, investigating the feasibility of integrating NuScale power modules into Prodigy’s marine power station. The two companies have completed the conceptual design and economic assessment phases.

According to John Hopkins, NuScale Power chairman and chief executive officer, the project “has the potential to better meet the growing demand for affordable, carbon-free power worldwide, including remote coastal locations and island nations.”

Prodigy’s SMR Marine Power Station would be fabricated in a shipyard and transported by sea to its deployment location, where it would be moored in place and connected to the existing shore-side transmission system.

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