Essel invests $200m in Swedish-Canadian micro-nuclear reactor developer LeadCold

Essel Group Middle East has signed a deal to invest around $200m in InnoEnergy-backed LeadCold, which has built a micro-nuclear reactor claimed to be reliable and safe.

Designed to supply electricity to remote off-grid areas, the LeadCold micro-nuclear reactor offers a low-carbon substitute for diesel production.

LeadCold's chief executive officer Janne Wallenius said: “Our small reactor technology was designed on the basis of actual scientific progress to meet the demands of a real market.

“This investment will allow us to license and construct the world’s first privately funded lead-cooled reactor.

“We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this success without our supporters, most notably InnoEnergy. The company’s expert support has paved our way to market.”

"This investment will allow us to license and construct the world’s first privately funded lead-cooled reactor."

Named as Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor (SEALER), the LeadCold micro-nuclear reactor is small enough to be easily transported and safe enough to avoid any need for evacuation, even in cases of severe incidents.

The SEALER uses a proprietary aluminum alloyed steel, which is extremely corrosion-resistant, even during long-term exposure to molten lead.

InnoEnergy's CEO Diego Pavia said: “We are excited that our support of LeadCold via our Highway programme has resulted in this significant investment, a recognition of the impact that their new technology will have.

“This funding will drive LeadCold to market and represents a huge step forward in developing a sustainable substitute for carbon dioxide (CO2) heavy diesel generation in off-grid, remote areas.”

Of the $200m investment, an initial investment of $18.2m was informally agreed in October last year for completion of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licensing.

The additional investment will be used to fund the construction of a fully functional demonstration facility and production unit, and will also enable LeadCold to commence commercialisation.