The goal of the framework agreement is to produce energy in a safe, reliable, sustainable way through innovative small-scale nuclear systems to be deployed outside of Italy (where no civil nuclear activity is permitted). Specifically, it foresees the development of advanced nuclear systems of small dimensions (Advanced Modular Reactors), cooled with lead instead of water making them much simpler and more reliable.
newcleo intends to build the first nuclear prototype in a nuclear friendly country within seven years, and subsequently market them internationally to gradually replace the current II- and III-generation reactors.
The collaboration envisions the construction of an electrical prototype of the Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (LFR) system, without the use of radioactive materials or nuclear fuel, to allow studying the thermo-dynamic, mechanical and functional performances. The joint activities also concern the design of Accelerator Driven System (ADS), which will make it possible to drastically reduce the volume of existing nuclear waste.
ENEA’s Brasimone Centre infrastructure, skills and professionalism will be available for safety analysis, training and testing activities. Furthermore, as part of the agreement, new research infrastructures will be implemented, favouring wherever possible the use and refurbishment of the existing experimental halls and laboratories. Investments by newcleo towards all these could exceed EUR 50 million over a 10-year period. The company plans to employ a team of 25 to 30 engineers, who will work permanently for about 10 years at the Brasimone Centre.
Operationally, a working group will be set up with ENEA and newcleo personnel to exchange information and knowledge, and jointly develop equipment and technological codes. In addition to the close cooperation between scientific staff, the partnership includes the alignment of experimental programs on innovative nuclear systems, mutual assistance in the design, numerical simulation and construction of key components, systems and plants.
Stefano Buono, newcleo CEO, commented:
We are extremely happy with the agreement with ENEA, and above all with the collaboration already underway between us. newcleo has an important mission for the future of the planet’s energy balance, and we have set ourselves an ambitious timeline to achieve it.
ENEA has accumulated a unique global know-how in the field of liquid lead. By working together with ENEA researchers and investing in the facilities at the Brasimone Centre, we will not only take important steps for the realisation of our project, but we will also contribute to the advancement of research in Italy.
I am proud of what we are doing both in Turin, where we already have about 60 scientists, and in Brasimone, where we are starting this path that will lead us to the construction of our prototype”.
The President of ENEA Gilberto Dialuce highlighted:
“In the last 20 years, ENEA has carried out a wide range of research studies and experiments in this sector, where it has reached a leading position at an international level. This agreement allows us to collaborate with the goal of ensuring the safe and long-term production of electricity in plants to be built abroad, but with significant repercussions on investments and employment at our local level.
Indeed, the activities targeted by the agreement with newcleo will be carried out in our Research Centre in Brasimone, on the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, where other strategic projects are also underway together with the Emilia Romagna Region, such as the development of technologies for the fusion and production of radiopharmaceuticals for the diagnosis and therapy of tumors”.