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Newcleo raises $315 million for pilot projects in France, UK

The London-based nuclear power startup harnesses new technology of lead-cooled fast reactors rather than the commonly used high-pressure water reactors. Its reactors run on conventional wastes and do not require mined uranium, thus saving costs

June 20, 2022 / 06:53 PM IST

Newcleo, a nuclear power startup, has raised 300 million euros ($315 million dollars) from its existing investors to develop affordable power-generation pilot projects in France and the UK.

The London-based startup harnesses new technology of lead-cooled fast reactors rather than the commonly used high-pressure water reactors. These reactors run on conventional wastes and do not require mined uranium.

“We are going to use these reactors as a test for these technologies,” Bloomberg quoted Newcleo CEO Stefano Buono as saying. “We believe our reactor is cheaper than current reactors.”

Newcleo is looking to develop the pilot, a 30-megawatt prototype, for 400 million euros, the company said.  Although typical reactors are 20 times this size, the company is using this pilot to test the technology. If successful, the company aims to build a 200-megawatt commercial unit in under a billion euros owing to its cheaper nuclear reactor.

The company was launched last year with a 100 million euro capital infusion by investors such as Agnelli family's holding company Exor NV, Italian asset managers Azimut Group and a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc banker Claudio Costamagna. 

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It is seeking government permits for building sites.

Keen on the sustainable fuel space, it has also contracted France's Orano SA to conduct a feasibility study on its nuclear waste-based fuel production.

According to research firm PitchBook, investors poured $3.4 billion in nuclear power startups last year. After several years of a funding dry spell, nuclear power startups are benefiting from the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war and a shift towards carbon-neutral energy in Europe.

(with inputs from Bloomberg)
Hriday Sahjwani
first published: Jun 20, 2022 06:20 pm
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