Consortium green lights European small nuclear reactors
15 November 2023
Industrial bodies from Romania, Italy and Belgium have formed a consortium to advance nuclear energy technology in Europe.
Romanian and Belgian nuclear research centres RATEN and SCK CEN, Italian nuclear company Ansaldo Nucleare and engineering and energy R&D agency ENEA, will take part in the initiative, in collaboration with the US-based nuclear technology company Westinghouse Electric.
The primary objective of the consortium is to develop a small modular lead-cooled fast neutron reactor (SMR-LFR).
The initiative gained momentum against the backdrop of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the accelerated push for decarbonisation in Europe.
The proposal was reportedly to mirror the efforts of the US NuScale project – a project which has now been cancelled, following a doubling of construction costs.
The consortium’s aim is to construct the first reactor, based on a Westinghouse design, in Mol, Belgium.
A second reactor is proposed for Pitești, Romania, where it will serve as a platform for studying the technical and economic feasibility of future commercial small modular reactors (SMRs).
Should the proposal move forward, the international alliance will signify a significant step in the global nuclear energy landscape, fostering international cooperation to address energy challenges while promoting environmentally sustainable practices.