Financing of a Swedish demonstration SMR: New Nuclear
February 15, 2022
The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded Swedish Modular Reactors AB – a joint venture between Uniper Sweden and LeadCold – funding of just over SEK 99 million ($10.6 million) to support the construction of a demonstration LeadCold SEALER (Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor). small cooled modular reactor on the site of the Oskarshamn power plant.
LeadCold is designing a multi-unit SEALER-55 concept that could be deployed at existing nuclear sites in Sweden in the 2030s, if market conditions are right (Image: LeadCold)
Uniper Sweden, LeadCold and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) announced in February 2021 that they would collaborate to explore the possibility of building a LeadCold SEALER demonstration reactor at the Oskarshamn plant site by 2030. The partners also said they had applied to the Swedish Energy Agency for a grant of SEK 125 million to build a non-nuclear prototype at Oskarshamn. Ultimately, the objective of the collaboration is to enable the commercialization of these reactors in Sweden in the 2030s.
The Swedish Energy Agency has now awarded partners SEK 99 million to be spent on building a prototype electrically powered non-nuclear SEALER at Oskarshamn to test and verify materials and technology in a molten lead environment at high temperature. The 1:56 scale prototype will be operated for five years from 2024.
An academic network based at KTH is connected to the project. Project Sunrise (Sustainable Nuclear Research In Sweden) – whose partners include KTH, Luleå University and Uppsala University – has already received funding of SEK 50 million ($6 million) from the Foundation for strategic research to develop the design, materials technology and safety analysis for an advanced lead-cooled research and demonstration reactor.
The SEALER design is expected to generate 3-10 MWe over a period of 10-30 years without refueling. After operation, the first SEALER units will be transported to a centralized recycling facility.
“The technology can eventually be developed into cost-effective fossil-free baseload energy and thus help facilitate electrification for a transition to a fossil-free society,” the Swedish Energy Agency said. It can also produce hydrogen, which can be stored until electricity demand exceeds production, allowing for greater flexibility and stability in the power system, he said.
LeadCold is a spin-off from KTH in Stockholm, where lead-cooled reactor systems have been under development since 1996. The company was founded in 2013 as a joint-stock company. It has a Canadian subsidiary, LeadCold Reactors Inc, which is registered in Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Research and writing by World Nuclear News