A South Korean consortium led by Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (Kaeri) won a bid as a partner to renovate an atomic reactor at Delft University of Technology’s experimental reactor, known as OYSTER Project, in the Netherlands.
This marks the country’s first successful attempt at exporting its research and development technology to Europe.
The consortium comprising Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Hyundai Engineering has won the €19m project in the race against international consortia from nuclear-power dominant nations such as France, Germany, and Russia.
The ministry commented as following: "The successful bidding by the KAERI-led consortium has a special meaning as it came after a fierce competition against international consortia led by France's AREVA, Germany's NUKEM and Russia's NIEKET."
"The market for the country's nuclear technology has so far been limited to the Middle East and Southeast Asia despite its continued efforts to develop and further advance its own technologies."
According to the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, the consortium will upgrade the reactor's capacity from 2MW to 3MW as well as build a cold neutron research facility.
Unlike the commercial nuclear reactors, which produce electricity by converting heat from nuclear reactions, R&D reactors, typically used for biotechnology research, dispose of the heat and instead use cold neutrons for experiments and observations.
The new nuclear deal is likely to help Korea with another bid this year to build a R&D nuclear reactor in the Netherlands
Only a number of countries - including the United States, France, Germany and Korea - have the technology to build cold neutron generators.
However, the market for research reactors is expected to grow with the growing demand for and usage of cold neutron facilities.
The science minister, Choi Moon-gi, stated that “The winning OYSTER bid is a success marking the bright future for nuclear technology export in Europe. It will also serve as a great advantage in the future bid for Netherland’s construction of reactor known as the PALLAS project.”
Photo Source: Business Korea