KAERI and 27 organizations and companies in Korea and the United States agreed to collaborate for developing technologies.
An industry organization in Korea joined hands with that in the United States to expedite development and commercialization of the very high temperature reactor (VHTR) for commercial production of a clean energy, hydrogen, using nuclear power.
The Korea Nuclear Hydrogen Alliance (KNHA) consisting of 13 companies and organizations, including Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI, President: Jung Youn-ho) and POSCO, and the Next Generation Nuclear Plant Industry Alliance (NIA) consisting of 14 companies in the United States concluded on April 15 the ‘MOU on collaboration for developing and commercializing VHTR technologies for producing hydrogen, process heat and electric power’ at Lotte Hotel Jeju where the ICAPP 2013 is being held.
In the MOU, the two parties agreed to exchange information on high temperature gas reactor technologies and set up licensing systems, promote acceptability of the people, provide support and jointly conduct research on infrastructure assets, organize operating committee, and discuss ways of devising collaboration programs.
The KNHA is joined by 13 organizations and companies, including KAERI, POSCO, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction, GS Caltex, GS E&C, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Hyundai Motor, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power, KEPCO Engineering & Construction, KEPCO NF, Samsung C&T, SK Innovation, and STX Heavy Industries.
The NIA is taken part by 14 companies, including Areva, Dow Chemical, Westinghouse, Advanced Research Center, Conoco Phillips, Entergy, Graftech, Mersen, PTAC, SGL, SRS, Technology Insights, Toyo Tanso, and Ultra Safe Nuclear.
The nuclear power-based hydrogen production system is a technology of mass producing hydrogen by decomposing water through thermochemical or high temperature electrolysis, using very high temperature gas reactor (VHTGR), a kind of special nuclear reactor, that generates high temperature of 950℃. It is regarded as a plausible method of mass producing hydrogen in economic way in preparation for the forthcoming hydrogen economy era.
Besides producing hydrogen, VHTGR is expected to be widely used in the industry, including supply of industrial process heat and high temperature steam, fuel cell, hydrogen reduction iron and steel making, production of methanol, and generation of electric power using gas turbine. And industrial companies are desired to participate in the stage of developing these technologies and products as they will be end users.
While other nuclear advanced countries are striving to develop VHTR to produce hydrogen, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) pursues to develop a prototype reactor by 2021 under the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) project based on the Energy Policy Act enacted in 2005.
For development of the reactor, which requires about 4 trillion won, private sector will be responsible for about a half of the fund, and 14 companies, including the reactor supplier and end users, organized the consultative body, NIA, in 2009. The NIA began in February this year to conduct analysis on economic efficiency and feasibility of the VHTGR.
In the ‘Long-term Nuclear Power System Development Plan’ adopted at the 255th meeting of the Atomic Energy Commission held in December 2008, the Korean government set the goal of developing nuclear hydrogen production system by 2022 and building a demonstration reactor by 2026.
Launched in 2009, the KNHA is an alliance between the industry and research organization with objectives of collaborating technologies and exchanging information in relation to development of VHTGR. It is joined by KAERI and 12 companies.
The MOU is expected to serve as a momentum of accelerating nuclear hydrogen demonstration program in Korea and stepping forward development of VHTGR by increasing chances of participating in the U.S. NGNP project by companies in Korea.