Newcleo signs cooperation agreement with Tosto Group

13 October 2023

UK-based nuclear technology company newcleo has signed a cooperation agreement with the Tosto Group, la manufacturer of large components and pressure equipment in the chemicals, oil & gas and energy sectors, including nuclear.

Newcleo says it is working to deliver innovative reactors, which will significantly reduce existing volumes of radioactive waste and plutonium, as well as end the need for further uranium mining for the long-term benefit of communities and the environment.

The first step of newcleo’s delivery roadmap is “to design and construct a first-of-a-kind mini 30 MWe lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) to be deployed in France by 2030”. Newcleo says this will be rapidly followed by a 200 MWe commercial unit in the UK. At the same time, newcleo will directly invest in a mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (mox) plant to fuel its reactors.

The Tosto Group consists of seven companies headquartered in Italy and Romania. The two major enterprises, Walter Tosto (Chieti, Italy) and Belleli Energy CPE (Mantua, Italy) supply critical and long lead process equipment using their strategic water-front manufacturing locations.

Newcleo says the partnership will join the two companies into “a synergetic, rolling long-term contract of collaboration that encompasses all stages of newcleo’s project: research, design and demonstration to industrialisation of its small modular lead-cooled fast reactors”. This will be further strengthened by “a work for equity mechanism that will allow the Tosto Group to fully invest in newcleo, making them an integral part of newcleo’s achievements”.

Newcleo and Tosto Group will collaborate on several activities aimed at studying and perfecting manufacturing, fabrication and installation encompassing the whole reactor life, underpinning the technological development of the LFR designs with proven manufacturing and implementation expertise.

In this first stage of the cooperation, the companies’ joint efforts will focus on: fabrication and installation sequence studies; installation tools and jigs conceptualisation; transportation plans; storage and site erection instructions; research, development and qualification on structural materials and coatings, also via participation to European Union-funded programmes; code evolution recommendations relevant for LFR construction.

Stefano Buono, newcleo Chairman & CEO, commented: “At newcleo we are setting ourselves up for success, putting in place partnerships with the leaders of the relevant sectors. We are laser-focused on our very ambitious timelines of delivery, and this industrial partnership with the Tosto Group will help us further ground our vision. They bring strong and proven expertise to ensure we are set up for the best manufacturing for our large reactor components.”

Luca Tosto, Managing Director of the Tosto Group said the partnership “reflects our commitment to innovation and sustainable energy solutions and underscores our dedication to the nuclear sector, where we are actively investing and expanding our business division”. He added: “Together, we will drive advancements in manufacturing and contribute to the success of newcleo‘s pioneering projects.”

Newcleo, launched in 2021, says its reactor design “has been optimised over the last 20 years leading to the concept of an ultra-compact and transportable 200 MWe module with improvements in energy density compared to other technologies”. Currently the only operating liquid metal-cooled fast reactors are in Russia, using sodium as the coolant. However, Russia is also constructing the world’s first lead-cooled small modular reactor (Brest-OD-300) in Seversk as part of a facility to demonstrate an on-site closed fuel cycle, including novel fuel fabrication. This reactor, based on decades of research supported by the entire Russian nuclear industry, is due to begin operation in 2029.

Image: Newcleo has signed a cooperation and investment agreement with the Tosto Group to advance the industrialisation of Newcleo's reactors (courtesy of Newcleo)

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