US-based NuScale Power Corporation has opened the first privately-funded NuScale Energy Exploration Centre (E2 Centre) in Asia at Seoul National University (SNU) in partnership with GS Energy Corporation, Doosan Enerbility, and Samsung C&T Corporation. It will be used as a development tool for South Korea to develop the next generation of advanced nuclear experts, technologists, and operators. NuScale said this will position South Korea to become a regional leader of small modular reactor (SMR) deployment in Asia.

The E2 Centre offers users a hands-on opportunity to apply nuclear science and engineering principles through simulated, real-world NPP operation scenarios. Using state-of-the-art computer modelling, visitors can assume the role of "control room operators" at a NuScale VOYGR 12, 924 MWe SMR plant powered by 12 NuScale Power Modules.

NuScale Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer Dr José Reyes said the E2 Centre “allows South Korea to advance its position as a global leader in clean energy”. He added: "With the support of our partners GS Energy, Doosan, Samsung C&T, and Seoul National University, we are excited to reach this new milestone in our collaboration to advance the shared goal of global decarbonisation."

Professor Eung Soo Kim, Head of SNU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering said the centre “provides our students with an unrivalled opportunity to engage in hands-on SMR operations, cultivating the expertise essential for leading the global clean energy transition. We are proud to be the first institution in Asia to integrate NuScale's state-of-the-art simulation technology into our curriculum."

NuScale has opened four similar centres in the USA at Oregon State University in 2020; the University of Idaho’s Centre for Advanced Energy Studies in 2021; Texas A&M's Engineering Experiment Station also in 2021; and in Pocatello, Idaho, in collaboration with Idaho State University in 2022. Earlier this year, the first E2 Centre outside the USA opened at the University Politehnica of Bucharest.

The NuScale Power Module is a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single 77 MWe unit. Various configurations are possible including a 924 MWe 12-module plant a 308 MWe four-module plant and a 462 MWe six-module plant.

Doosan Enerbility (formerly Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction) signed a business collaboration agreement with NuScale in 2019 for the supply of NuScale Power Modules and other equipment. Together with Korean financial investors, the company has made an equity investment of nearly $104m in NuScale Power. In May, GS Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with Uljin County in North Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, to consider using NuScale Power's SMR technology for the Uljin Nuclear Hydrogen National Industrial Complex.

However, the recent cancellation of a planned pilot six-module plant at the Idaho National Laboratory for the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) Carbon Free Power Project has negatively impacted NuScale’s share price.

Image: Opening ceremony for the NuScale's E2 Centre at Seoul National University (courtesy of NuScale)