South Korea’s Kepco Engineering & Construction Company (Kepco E&C) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the development of floating nuclear power plants.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (Image: Kepco E&C)
Under the MoU, the two companies will jointly advance technology development for offshore nuclear power plants. Kepco E&C said this will draw upon its “world-class nuclear power plant design and construction technology, and offshore nuclear technology development” and DSME’s diverse experience and know-how of shipbuilding.
Kepco E&C said the agreement is expected to lead to the development of floating offshore nuclear power plants equipped with BANDI-60 reactors, a small modular reactor design it has been developing since 2016.
The BANDI-60 is a block-type pressurised water reactor with a power output of 200MWt/60MWe. According to Kepco E&C, the block-type design – in which the main components are directly connected, nozzle-to-nozzle, instead of using connecting pipes – can eliminate the risk of a large-break loss-of-coolant accident and also provides improved operational surveillance and maintenance as compared with the integral type design. The reactor would operate at a temperature of around 325℃. To enhance the safety and performance, Kepco C&E says several advanced design features are adopted such as soluble boron-free operation, an in-vessel control rod drive mechanism, and top-mounted in-core instrumentation.
A floating nuclear power plant based on the BANDI-60 reactor (Image: Kepco E&C)
At the 24 September signing ceremony, Yeom Hak-gi, director of KEPCO corporate R&D subsidiary the Korea Electric Power Research Institute, said: “The synergy between Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering’s excellent marine floatation design and manufacturing technology and the advanced nuclear technology of Korea Electric Power Technology is expected.”
Choi Dong-gyu, director of DSME’s Central Research Institute, added that through its cooperation with Kepco E&C it would be able “to provide customers with products with enhanced stability and reliability”.
Russia’s first floating nuclear power plant, Akademik Lomonosov, which comprises two 35-megawatt KLT-40C reactors, started providing electricity in December 2019 to the isolated grid of the Chaun-Bilibino energy centre in Pevek, which is in the Chukotka region of Russia’s Far East. The plant was fully commissioned in May this year.
In early January 2016, both China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear announced plans to construct demonstration small modular offshore multi-purpose reactors, based on their ACP100S and ACPR50S reactor designs, respectively.