Enel and Newcleo Sign Cooperation Agreement on Generation IV Nuclear Technologies

Enel and newcleo signed a cooperation agreement under which they will work together on newcleo’s IV generation nuclear projects, lead-cooled instead of water-cooled advanced modular reactors, making them much simpler and more reliable.

In co-working with ENEA, newcleo intends to build an electrical prototype of a lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) system that does not employ radioactive materials or nuclear fuel, facilitating the study of its thermodynamic, mechanical and functional features. 

Under the agreement, ENEA will provide newcleo with its Brasimone Research Centre for safety analysis, training and testing. In addition, a new research infrastructure will be implemented to facilitate the use and renovation of existing experimental halls and laboratories. Newcleo’s investment in all this may exceed €50 million over a 10-year period. The company plans to hire a team of 25-30 engineers who will work permanently at the Brasimone Research Centre.

A working group will be set up with ENEA and newcleo personnel to share information, knowledge and jointly develop equipment and manufacturing codes. In addition to close collaboration between research staff, the partnership includes the alignment of experimental programmes on innovative nuclear systems, mutual assistance in the design, numerical modelling and construction of key components, systems and facilities.

A 30 MWe LFR small modular reactor is planned to be constructed and deployed in France by 2030, followed by a 200 MWe commercial unit in the UK. Meanwile newcleo will invest in a MOX (mixed uranium and plutonium oxide produced from existing nuclear waste) plant to produce fuel for its reactors.

Newcleo’s fast reactor technology will enable multiple reprocessing of already mined uranium and a significant reduction in nuclear waste. Moreover, the use of lead opens up the possibility of safer and cheaper reactor operation.