South Korea plans to sell small 'smart' nuclear power reactors

As the world makes efforts to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, South Korea is working on developing small-sized commercial nuclear power generation systems, said Rhee Jae-hwan, chairman of the Korea Nuclear Energy Promotion Agency.

"Local researchers have finished much work on small-sized SMART nuclear reactors and have applied for global approval, which will be reviewed next year," Rhee said. "The SMART reactor is a new-concept product, which will cater to the requirements of a city with a population of between 100,000 and 200,000. Many have shown interest in the innovative products including Kazakhstan."

South Korea's economy has recieved international attention over the past few years since the country signed a $18.6 billion deal to build four nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates by 2020. Unlike the SMART reactors, which are small, tailor-made products with multiple functionalities, the reactors for the UAE are large and meant to produce a large amount of electricity.

Emerging countries usually prefer the smaller facilities like the SMART reactor. Chile, Lithuania and Kazakhstan are looking to adopt mini-sized facilities. South Korea wants to pre-empt the market.

"With the help of its technical edge and experience, Korea will be able to carve out a substantial chunk of the markets for both the large- and small-sized nuclear reactors," Rhee said.

The overall market size for these facilities is expected to amount to $350 billion by 2050 (Kim Tae-gyu, Korea Times, Feb. 24). -- JJP

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