ARC, NB Power, KHNP join to explore global SMR deployment

December 12, 2023, 3:00PMNuclear News
Concept art of an ARC-100 plant. (Image: ARC)

Small modular reactor developer ARC Clean Technology, Canadian utility New Brunswick Power, and nuclear plant operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore opportunities for commercializing ARC technology in Canada, South Korea, and the United States, as well as in other regions where KHNP has business operations.

ARC and NB Power have been working together since 2018 to deploy an ARC-100 SMR at NB Power’s single-unit Point Lepreau nuclear power plant. A license application to prepare the site for the proposed reactor—submitted this June to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission—is currently undergoing regulatory review.

The ARC-100 is a 100 MWe integrated sodium-cooled fast reactor that uses a metallic uranium alloy fuel. Based on Argonne National Laboratory’s Experimental Breeder Reactor-II, the unit is designed to operate for 20-plus years without refueling.

According to ARC and NB Power’s joint announcement, “Opportunities for collaboration to be explored under the MOU could include participation in current and future projects by providing specific expertise for the design, construction, project management, commissioning, operation, and maintenance of ARC’s advanced small modular reactor in multiple countries.”

Signers’ language: “ARC is extremely excited to explore opportunities for collaboration with KHNP, one of the world’s largest nuclear operators,” stated Bill Labbe, ARC president and chief executive officer. “This agreement builds on the successful partnership we have established with NB Power in the Canadian market and is the first step toward our companies working together to bring the ARC-100 to a global market.”

Lori Clark, NB Power president and CEO, declared SMRs to be “a key part of NB Power’s solution to phase out coal by 2030 and achieve net-zero supply by 2035 while maintaining energy security for New Brunswickers,” adding that the MOU “is an example of our strategic plan, Energizing our Future, in action, finding new, cleaner, and greener energy solutions and building partnerships.”

KHNP CEO Jooho Whang said the MOU would afford his company “significant momentum for entering the Gen 4 SMR market” and noted that while the new collaboration is in its early stages, he is “confident that, leveraging our extensive know-how gained through 40 years of development and operation of nuclear reactors both at home and abroad, we can advance strengthened by a solid partnership with NB Power and ARC Clean Technology.”

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