TerraPower has secured equity worth USD 830 million to further its Natrium reactor, TerraPower Isotopes programme, and Molten Chloride Fast Reactor. Among the companies committing to the development of nuclear power is Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering, which is the holding company of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group.
TerraPower is a US-based nuclear innovation company. The fundraise was co-led by SK Inc. and SK Innovation and TerraPower’s founder, Bill Gates. The USD 830 million raised is said to be the largest private raise among advanced nuclear companies to date.
Tera Power’s technologies, such as sodium-cooled high-speed reactors and molten salt reactors, not only do not emit greenhouse gases during the power generation process, but also have a lower risk of accidents, such as leaks and explosions compared to large-scale nuclear power plants. A Natrium or Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) uses sodium as a coolant and nuclear fission by fast neutrons. A Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) or Molton Chloride Fast Reactor uses molten chloride as a coolant and fuel.
‘TerraPower is advancing nuclear technologies that will help our country and the world during this important energy transition,’ says TerraPower President and CEO Chris Levesque. ‘We also are excited about our work bringing new cancer treatment options to the market through medical isotope development. We have long had forward-looking and committed investors and the extensive interest we experienced this year in companies joining our investor base reveals the commercial potential of TerraPower’s technology portfolio.’
KSOE sees potential for ships
In addition to Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE), ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel company, also joined as an investor.
‘KSOE has been following the development status of small modular reactor (SMR) technologies for its various applications and decarbonisation ability for quite a long time,’ says Sam H. Ka, Vice Chairman and CEO of KSOE. ‘We are glad to invest in TerraPower and contribute to the global net-zero transition. KSOE, with other affiliates of Hyundai Heavy Industries Group, will continuously seek opportunities that could decarbonise our industry and also support global net-zero transition.’
ArcelorMittal has the same goal with its investment for its own industry. The company seeks to invest in innovations ‘which hold the potential to accelerate the world’s transition to net zero and support the decarbonisation of our industry, which is intrinsically linked to access an abundant supply of clean energy solutions’.
Interest in nuclear solutions increasing
TerraPower is experiencing significant growth, partially driven by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) award and the construction of the Natrium demonstration plant at a retiring coal facility in Wyoming. Part of the ARDP award requires a match of fifty per cent of project costs, up to USD 2 billion. The current fundraise contributes materially to the many elements that are required for successful deployment of innovative technologies.
The TerraPower Isotopes (TPI) programme is supporting the transformation of the fight against cancer by advancing the next generation of isotopes. TPI has unique access to Actinium-225 and is working to provide this isotope to the pharmaceutical community for the development of drugs that target and treat cancer.