Start-up nuclear technology company Newcleo has announced the close of its €300 million equity raise, launched at its first AGM in March. The equity raise, which gathered interest in excess of the available amount, was completed in two months. Newcleo said around two thirds of existing investors from the initial €100m funding round in 2021 chose to invest further.

“The Board has been encouraged by the high levels of interest expressed by existing and potential investors since Newcleo’s launch in September 2021,” the company noted. The funds raised “will be instrumental to accelerate Newcleo’s overall growth and its strategic expansion into manufacturing nuclear fuel for its new-generation reactors from existing waste produced by traditional reactors”.

The company has recently opened its French subsidiary Newcleo SA with an immediate focus to work towards the establishment of a mixed plutonium-uranium oxide (mox) production plant. Newcleo is contracting Orano for feasibility studies. Conversations with other major French nuclear fuel players are also well underway.

Newcleo said the use of mox in its reactors “will be a further step towards their cost-competitive, fully sustainable approach: it will decrease the environmental and financial cost of disposing of such long-living radioactive waste; reduce proliferation risk; and completely avoid the need to mine for new nuclear fuel”.

The industrial-scale manufacturing of mox will secure the future fuel supply needed for the operation of Newcleo’s first 30MWe first-of-a-kind prototypes in France and the UK, and the subsequent fleet that will be deployed in both countries. “Importantly, it will also be a consistent and complementary approach to both countries’ reinforced nuclear energy strategies as recently announced by their respective governments.” Newcleo said it will provide an efficient and safe way to sustainably manage their existing and new nuclear waste, and considerably reduce the footprint of final storage at a time when nuclear energy production plans are being bolstered.

To achieve all this, a significant programme of development activity is planned over the next 5-7 years, which will require significant investment. “Given the strong interest from the market and the project’s aggressive timelines, this equity raise will help Newcleo accelerate its prototype build out, research, manufacturing plant set up, and site identification and acquisition costs in both France and the UK.”

With offices in the UK, France and Italy, Newcleo said the overall headcount target is set at around 500 employees by the end of 2023.

Stefano Buono, Newcleo Chairman and CEO, commented:

“We look forward to pressing ahead with our clear priorities in the second half of 2022 and securing the right sites in France and the UK for both our prototype reactors and our MOX manufacturing facilities.