Hyundai Engineering expands nuclear power plant business

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Hyundai Engineering expands nuclear power plant business

By Kim So-hyun

Published : May 31, 2022 – 11:10       Updated : May 31, 2022 – 11:10

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Rendering of Hyundai Engineering‘s micro modular reactor site in Chalk River, Canada. (Hyundai Engineering)
Rendering of Hyundai Engineering‘s micro modular reactor site in Chalk River, Canada. (Hyundai Engineering)

Hyundai Engineering (HEC) set up a new division for nuclear power projects as it seeks to develop its own small modular reactors (SMR).

What was previously a team has been expanded and elevated to a division, and more nuclear power specialists will join, the company said.

In addition to SMRs, Hyundai Engineering plans to produce micro modular reactors and hydrogen; enter new fields such as decommissioning of aging nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel cycle, reactors for research purposes and nuclear fuel manufacturing.

Based on its ongoing MMR project in Chalk River, Canada, the company plans to secure engineering, procurement, and construction rights for MMRs in Canada, the US and Poland by 2029. It also plans to mass-produce hydrogen using high temperatures through technological advancement.

As for the nuclear power plant decommissioning and nuclear fuel cycle, HEC will participate in the designing of temporary storage facilities for nuclear fuels after their use in domestic power plants, and plans to enter overseas markets as well.

The company also plans to secure EPC rights for pyroprocessing, which recycles used nuclear fuels from light-water reactors into nuclear fuels for sodium-cooled fast reactors and radioactive waste treatment facilities.

According to US consulting firm Bates White, the global demand for nuclear power plant decommissioning is expected to grow to some 204 trillion won ($164 billion) by 2050.

Based on its experience in the OYSTER research reactor project in the Netherlands, HEC also hopes to join projects in countries such as South Africa, Bangladesh, Thailand and Kenya.

According to the United Kingdom National Nuclear Laboratory, the global demand for SMRs is projected to reach between 390 trillion won and 630 trillion won by 2035.

Having entered the nuclear power plant business in the 1980s, HEC has carried out various projects including helping design the Wolseong 1 nuclear power plant.

HEC has worked with Seattle-based Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation to design and develop a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor since 2012 and an MMR since 2013.

In January this year, HEC made a 30 billion won equity investment in USNC, secured exclusive EPC rights for its MMRs, and began building an MMR demonstration plant at the Chalk River Nuclear Laboratory site in the northeast of Toronto.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)

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