UK-based nuclear technology company Newcleo on 31 August announced its incorporation with the closing of a $118 million initial capital raising and the acquisition of Hydromine Nuclear Energy. Newcleo said its disruptive approach is based on the innovative application of well-developed technologies, including, (1) Lead Fast Reactors (LFRs), which utilise lead as a coolant; (2) Accelerator Driven Systems (ADSs), based on coupling a sub-critical reactor with a particle accelerator; and (3) the use of natural thorium fuel.

The application of these technologies has the potential to:

  • dramatically decrease the volume of radioactive waste produced, while eliminating the need of a geological repository for transuranic elements;
  • more effectively  use   existing uranium fuel, while moving toward the use of natural thorium; and
  • avoid nuclear accidents as the reactor core remains, at all times sub-critical, and the nuclear cascade can be instantly interrupted by switching off the accelerator.

Newcleo’s core leadership team includes CEO Stefano Buono, the former founder of the NASDAQ-listed Advanced Accelerator Applications (sold to Novartis in 2018); Chief Scientific Officer Luciano Cinotti; and Chief Operating Officer and CEO of the Italian research operations Elisabeth Rizzotti.

With headquarters in London, Newcleo will initially base its research team in Turin, Italy. There, over 100 ‘energy innovators’ will work under the oversight of a Scientific Committee with extensive nuclear energy experience.

Newcleo’s first key development will be the LFR ‘Re-Act’ project; a liquid lead modular micro-reactor with significant commercial applications, for example in shipping. This prototype will be the realisation of a concept known at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as the LFR-TL-X project. Within the next five years, the company intends to finalise the design and realise a full-scale non-nuclear industrial prototype in collaboration with ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), that also shares one of Newcleo’s patents.

As demonstrated by the successful acquisition of HNE, Newcleo said its strategy is to actively pursue all the necessary M&A transactions and partnerships across the globe among energy sector players, institutions, academia and investors, as well as ad hoc acquisitions to rapidly bring to market its projects and create a new industrial standard.

Hydromine Global Holdings is fully controlled by US-based Hydromine, a sustainable energy company with offices in New York and Yaoundé. Hydromine’s multinational team has extensive experience in the international power sector, including Africa, for the origination, financing, construction, or operation of utility-scale power projects. HNE team comprises several of the world’s leading fast reactor engineers who have originated a lead-cooled design (the LFR-AS-200 and LFR-TL-5) that after decades of simplification can offer safer and competitive new nuclear energy.