Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Daegu Metropolitan City for the construction of a small modular reactor SMR power plant at an industrial complex near Daegu-Gyeongbuk New Airport. The MOU includes a feasibility study covering site suitability, economic viability, and enhancing resident acceptance. The aim is to build and commercialise a 680 MWe SMR power plant comprising four 170 MWe modules.

Korea’s i-SMR is an integrated pressurised water reactor with an electrical output of 170 MWe. It is being developed according to a roadmap, with the goal of completing the standard design by the end of 2025 and obtaining standard design approval in 2028. The concept and basic design of the i-SMR was completed at the end of 2023KHNP says it requires just one-third of the investment of a large NPP and can be constructed in half the time.

Daegu City, in North Gyeongsang Province plans to conduct a preliminary feasibility study with KHNP and private construction companies by 2026, obtain standard design approval from the government in 2028, and begin commercial development in 2033. An SMR construction special purpose corporation (SPC) will be established to purchase about 160,000 square metres of land in the Gunwi Advanced Industrial Complex and proceed with construction. The total project cost of KRW4,000bn ($2.9bn) will be entirely financed by the SPC.

In May, the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Energy (MOTIE) allocated 0.7 GWe for SMRs by 2035 as part of the 11th Basic Plan for Electricity Supply and Demand. It announced a specific scheme to introduce one unit consisting of four 170 MWe modules. Daegu City said the agreement with KHNP is the first time an SMR has been proposed under the 11th basic power plan and this is the first time a metropolitan government has initiated SMR construction.

The city said it has been in discussions for the past two years with MOTIE, the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute and i-SMR Technology Development Agency on construction of the first SMR in South Korea at the Gunwi New Airport Advanced Industrial Complex.

KHNP earlier signed a MOU with Nusantara Power (a subsidiary of Indonesian Electric Power Corporation) to co-operate for the introduction and construction of the i-SMR in Indonesia. Co-operation will cover joint basic research on the economic feasibility and technology for deployment of the i-SMR in Indonesia; development of local specialised technology through R&D cooperation; and collaboration through human/technology exchanges in the nuclear field through the formation of a working group.

KHNP has also signed a MOU with the Jordan Atomic Energy Commission on possible deployment of the i-SMR in Jordan. The MOU covers comprehensive technology and information exchange on the i-SMR and a joint feasibility study. Jordan is currently considering the introduction of SMRs after 2030.