The Swedish Energy Agency has awarded SEK50m ($4.7m) for the development of an entire Generation IV nuclear power system. The Multidisciplinary Commitments for Sweden’s Gen-IV Technology & Expertise (MUST) project, led by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg also includes researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University and Lund University. It will strengthen the already existing research centres in nuclear science in Sweden – ANITA and SOLSTICE – with a clear focus on sustainable electricity production and resource use in the Gen IV system. Technologies for fuel recovery and new manufacturing, radiation protection strategies and monitoring of reactors are being developed.

“The fact that we in Sweden now dare to invest in the nuclear technology of the future is very gratifying,” says Christian Ekberg”, coordinator of the project, Professor of Nuclear Chemistry & Industrial Materials Recycling at Chalmers University of Technology. “When fully developed, a system like this could have the potential to produce nuclear power to the same extent as we did in Sweden when we had twelve reactors running, without mining any more uranium a few thousand years.”

The project will also address the need for education and competence supply in the nuclear and radiation area. This issue extends widely in society, for example, knowledge in radiology is important for healthcare. “Unfortunately, education in general radiation science is scarce in Sweden. KTH (Royal Institute of Technology) and Uppsala University have higher education programmes that are mainly focused on nuclear reactors,” Ekberg noted. “A broader approach is needed and this project fits in well with the need to take a more holistic approach to the competence issue.”

The results of the project will provide input for a case study for Generation IV implementation by Swedish small modular reactor (SMR) project development company Kärnfull Next. The company has said it aims to have the first commercial SMR operational at a new nuclear site in Sweden by the early 2030s.

Kärnfull Next said Gen IV nuclear technology holds the promise of revolutionising the energy sector by significantly reducing long-lived radioactive waste and minimising the need for new uranium mining. “As the commercial partner in the MUST project, the company brings a commercial perspective and expertise that bridges cutting-edge research and practical, scalable solutions for the energy market.”

John Ahlberg, Chief Strategy Officer of Kärnfull Next said: “Our participation in this project aligns perfectly with Kärnfull Next’s mission to foster technological advancements and ensure the long-term viability of nuclear power. We believe in the transformative potential of Gen IV technology to deliver clean, safe, and reliable energy, and we are excited to contribute to this pioneering effort.”