Why nuclear?

A greener but more volatile energy landscape

With demand for energy set to increase, there is a need to combine decarbonisation with security of supply. This means a pivotal role for nuclear in any future energy mix.

graphic showing global electricity demand

What are SMRs?

economies of scale of large reactors replaced by economies of series of SMRs

The nuclear industry is well-known for its ‘mega projects’: reactors designed to have an electrical output even higher than 1000 MWe. While these projects play an important role in the history of nuclear, their complexity and scale has often resulted in delays.

Now, vendors and developers in the industry are working together to shift this model – ‘economies of scale’ – to a newer, simplified, and more affordable standard: ‘economies of series’.

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are nuclear fission reactors that form the basis of this new standard. Smaller than conventional nuclear reactors, they are designed to be manufactured at a plant and transported to a site for installation


Learning curve and economies of series, centralised factory production to limit onsite costs, transportable on site


Shorter construction time, multi-module deployment enabling “chain” financing of one module to the next


Reduced complexity enhancing overall safety, while limiting costs (e.g., passive safety)


Lower upfront capital costs and financing risk, with greater access to private capital


Remote locations, small grids, fossil plant replacement, non-electrical applications, marine based

What are Advanced Nuclear Reactors?

At newcleo, we combine the SMR concept and our innovations with Advanced Nuclear Reactor technology.

The core Advanced Nuclear Reactor technologies were defined by the Generation IV International Forum, which identified six new promising technologies and Research and Development programme for each. Among these technologies – with the aim of improving sustainability, safety, reliability, proliferaiton-resitance, and performance in the nuclear industry – is the Lead-cooled Fast Reactor concept, the basis of newcleo’s Small Modular Reactor design.

Gen-IV systems shift the current safety philosophy, aiming to maintain current reactor’s high level of safety, and shifting from mastering accidents to excluding accidents. This is achieved employing both active safety systems and passive safety systems, the latter relying on natural laws of physics rather than people or machines. Gen-IV concepts can further rely on physical principles which render the most severe accident physically impossible: this is called inherent or intrinsic safety.

Why Lead-cooled Fast Reactors (LFRs):

Lead properties enable design simplification (hence economic benefits) and a high degree of inherent safety:

  • Operating at atmospheric pressure, hence thick forging not needed
  • No significant energy release in case of vessel failure, hence high pressure-resistant containment not needed
  • Chemically inert (unlike sodium), hence extra safety provisions can be avoided, no intermediate loop, possible use of low-cost water or air loops for DHR
  • Coolant boiling practically eliminated, hence safety injection systems not needed
  • Significant thermal inertia in case of a loss of heat sink
  • Lead fission product retention capability, gamma radiation shielding
  • High plant efficiency (40-50%)
  • High operating temperature enables non-electrical uses