South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol has announced plans to create an SMR industrial hub as governments around the world seek to roll out the advanced nuclear technology.

The SMR industrial hub will be built in Gyeongju, a city in the south-east of North Gyeongsang Province.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines SMRs as advanced nuclear fission reactors that have a power generation capacity of up to 300MW per unit – around a third of the capacity of traditional reactors. The ‘small’ and ‘modular’ nature of their design means they can be sited at locations unsuited to larger nuclear power plants (NPPs), in addition to saving on construction time and cost.

South Korea is now looking to become a significant player in the construction of SMRs. In a speech at the 26the people’s livelihood debate meeting, Yoon described Gyeongju as “the high-tech manufacturing innovation hub of north-east Asia”.

“Based on the potential that led to the country’s modernisation, the government will provide active support so that the North Gyeongsang Province can take a greater leap forward and open a successful regional era,” he added.

The government will commit 300bn won ($216m) to the SMR hub so that it can “pre-emptively secure a small module reactor and SMR manufacturing technology that is being competitively developed around the world”.

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Yoon said the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy will set up a 80bn won fund next year to support the broader nuclear industry.

Yoon also said that the construction of units 3 and 4 of the Shin Hanul NPP in North Gyeongsang Province will “proceed without a hitch so that the province can play a leading role in restoring the nuclear power industry ecosystem and new industrialisation” in the country.

South Korean companies have also been active in nuclear developments around the world. In February, Hyundai Engineering & Construction was selected to construct and commission two new Westinghouse AP1000 units at Bulgaria’s Kozloduy NPP following a competitive application process.