South Korea to invest $1.8 billion in next generation nuclear power reactors

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South Korea will invest 2.5 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in developing next-generation nuclear reactor technologies by 2034, the country’s Science Ministry has said. 

The investment aims to foster private companies that can build next-generation nuclear reactors and commercialise the technology, according to the South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT. 

South Korea plans to secure key technologies for developing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) with the aim of entering the global SMR market in the 2030s. 

The Republic of Korea also plans to work to develop fourth-generation reactors, including the sodium-cooled fast reactor, high temperature gas-cooled reactor and molten-salt reactor, the ministry said, noting it will release a detailed roadmap for their development later this year.  

Another official release said the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has conducted an “MoU Signing Ceremony for Public-Private Cooperation on Next-Generation Reactor Development” with eight Korean companies interested in next-generation reactors. 

“This ceremony aimed to publicly announce and promote the collaboration between the government and businesses for the advancement of next-generation nuclear reactors,” the release said.  

“As nuclear power is emerging as a crucial strategic technology amidst the global climate crisis and energy supply chain restructuring, the competition for next-generation nuclear reactors, such as small modular reactors (SMRs) and non-light water reactors, intensifies worldwide. Recognizing this, the government has proactively pursued key technology acquisition for next-gen nuclear reactors,” it said.  

“Through this agreement, both MSIT and participating companies reaffirmed their dedication to next-gen nuclear reactor development and committed to ongoing collaboration for joint technology development, technology transfer, license acquisition, and human resource development. A public-private council is also set to be established to ensure the effective implementation of the MoU,” the statement added.