Ultra Safe signs to perform a microreactor pre-feasibility study in the Philippines

November 17, 2023, 8:37AMNuclear News
A cutaway image of a below-grade MMR module. (Image: USNC)

Ultra Safe Nuclear has signed a cooperative agreement with the Manila Electric Company (Meralco)—the Philippines’ largest electric distribution utility—to study the potential deployment of one or more of the company’s high-temperature, gas-cooled microreactors in the Philippines. The agreement, signed November 15, builds on a partnership between the two companies that was announced in August.

Meralco chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan and USNC founder and CEO Francesco Venneri signed the deal on the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit in San Francisco, witnessed by Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The plan: Under the cooperative agreement, USNC will conduct a four-month prefeasibility study to familiarize Meralco with the company’s reactors, dubbed Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR) Energy Systems. Depending on the results of the study, Meralco has the option to conduct a more detailed feasibility study of the adoption and deployment of MMRs.

The prefeasibility study will assess financial, technical, safety, and siting considerations to “help Meralco in critical decisions and potential future activities on project-specific studies and project development plans at identified sites,” according to the companies.

The helium-cooled and TRISO-fueled MMR can deliver up to 45 megawatts-thermal of heat to a centralized heat storage unit capable of receiving heat from one or more reactors. That molten salt heat storage unit in turn can heat a water loop, enabling the user to generate electricity or extract 660°C steam to meet a range of energy requirements.

They said it: “USNC is changing the nuclear safety and national energy security conversations in the Philippines with the MMR,” Pangilinan said. “This also signifies the commitment of the Philippines, through Meralco, to explore and utilize diverse energy sources for the benefit of Filipinos. We believe that nuclear technology will help balance the need to meet the growing demand of our country with the equally crucial need to transition towards a sustainable energy future.”

“Meralco is demonstrating real leadership in advancing the energy security and sustainability roadmap for the Philippines,” said Venneri. “Our MMR nuclear batteries can play a major role in delivering those benefits. The plans that will quickly follow this study place Meralco well on the way toward creating a reliable, low-carbon, equitable, and secure future for Filipinos.”

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