Yonhap. The US and South Korea will work together to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor that will also produce large quantities of hydrogen according to officials from the S. Korean Ministry of Science and Economy.
The announcement comes less than a week after the South Korea government signed off on an ambitious plan for the country to become a functioning hydrogen economy by 2040, with more than half of all cars to operate on fuel cells by the target date. (Earlier post.)
The ministry said the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and Doosan Heavy Industry and Construction Co. are pushing to set up a joint nuclear hydrogen research center in cooperation with General Atomics, a US-based nuclear technology company.
“The project is part of an ongoing effort by the government to join a multinational effort to build a fourth-generation nuclear power system that makes use of the so-called very high temperature gas cooled reactor,” a ministry official said.
The Very High Temperature Reactor is the current basis of the US research program to develop a cost-effective nuclear system that will directly produce hydrogen as well as electricity. (Earlier post)
General Atomics is the only company in the United States that has been working on the new reactor system since the 1970s and is an integral member of the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear hydrogen initiative and the next-generation nuclear plant.
A memorandum of understanding is expected to be signed in the next few months, with research centers being built in General Atomics main office in San Diego and at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in Daejeon, about 164 kilometers south of Seoul.
The US and South Korea are both members of the 11-country Generation IV International Forum (GIF). In February, the US signed a multilateral cooperative research and development agreement aimed at next-generation nuclear energy systems with Canada, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Other members of GIF are Argentina, Brazil, the European Union, South Africa and Switzerland. (Earlier post.)