Swedish small modular reactor (SMR) project development company Kärnfull Next has received funding of €2m ($2.2m) from Danish climate tech fund Climentum Capital and Sween’s Granitor Growth Management. Kärnfull said this “signifies one of the first instances of a European dark green climate fund investing in nuclear energy, marking a major milestone in climate-oriented investments”.

Kärnfull Next, founded in 2019 and a fully-owned subsidiary of Kärnfull Future AB, says its projects are aligned with both the EU Taxonomy and Sweden's energy needs, providing clean, dispatchable and reliable power. "Leading energy experts, TSOs, and government affirm the country's need for this kind of energy solution, from the perspectives of security of supply, economy and climate," it noted.

In March 2022, Kärnfull Next signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with US-based GE Hitachi regarding the BWRX-300, a 300MWe water-cooled SMR with passive safety systems. Kärnfull secured initial financing from Corespring Invest, an investment portfolio that is managed at its discretion by Granitor. Corespring is a minority owner of the company. GE Hitachi was chosen as the technology supplier with the aim of establishing a number of SMRs as soon as possible for the production of electricity, heat and hydrogen

In July 2022, Kind Atom Oy, a nuclear power consulting company founded by former executives of Finland’s Fennovoima, signed a letter of intent with Kärnfull Next to form a new Nordic alliance, which would see close cooperation as well as cross-ownership. The following December Fortum signed a memorandum of understanding with Kärnfull Next to jointly explore opportunities in new nuclear for developing SMRs in Sweden.

Kärnfull Next says the new funding “will fortify ongoing pre-feasibility and feasibility studies while helping accelerate the prospecting of new nuclear build sites across Sweden”. Managing multiple projects concurrently is crucial, given the strong demand for SMRs in Sweden, the company notes. Representatives from Climentum Capital and Granitor Growth Management will join Kärnfull Next's board, providing strategic direction.

In June, Sweden’s parliament amended its energy target to 100% “fossil-free" electricity by 2045, instead of 100% “renewable” electricity, which means that nuclear generation can count towards the government's energy targets. Kärnfull Next aims to have the first commercial SMR operational at a new nuclear site in Sweden by the early 2030s.

Malin Carlström, General Partner at Climentum Capital, says: "We share the International Atomic Energy Agency view that there is no route to a net-zero scenario without a significant contribution of electricity from nuclear technology.” He adds that nuclear fission is the cleanest and safest baseload source available for the next 20 years. “We need to acknowledge that, and we need to urgently build out our reactor fleets with the best available technologies."

"Being backed by progressive investors like Climentum Capital and Granitor Growth Management empowers us to meet Sweden's energy demands with clean, reliable and efficient solutions," said Kärnfull Next CEO and founder Christian Sjölander. "The strong support we have received accelerates our mission to revolutionise the energy sector and contribute significantly to a more sustainable future."

Göran Linder, CEO of Granitor Growth Management, says: "We see tremendous potential in Kärnfull Next's strategy to decarbonise sectors traditionally seen as challenging. This investment reaffirms our conviction that nuclear energy is a key part of a sustainable future."