Nuclear Energy Ecosystems – Follow-up Meetings

Changes in Energy Market,  6.6. at 14-16 (EET)

Until recently the main push driving the renewal of the energy market has come from climate action and the decarbonization of the main segments of the energy sector: electricity production, heating, industry and transportation. In most countries the near-term scenarios have been focused on low-carbon electricity, but long-term climate goals also include more ambitious strategies, such as the transition from fossil fuels to a hydrogen-based economy. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 changed the playfield. The risks associated with imported fossil fuels were realized overnight, creating a new major driver in the energy market. There is a consensus that Europe should be detached from dependence on Russian gas and oil, but how this can be accomplished remains to be seen. What cannot be disputed, however, is that the previous strategies relying on cheap gas as a transitional solution have now become obsolete. What is the future of the energy market, and does the war in Europe change the role of nuclear energy in it?

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SMR hub, 10.6. at 14-16 (EET)

To continue the network building and information sharing of the EcoSMR project, we are calling partners interested in the latest SMR development to co-create a more permanent SMR-HUB. This information and project facilitation provider will continue to feed the strengths and identify collaboration opportunities for its members in the Finnish nuclear energy industry. A broad industrial interest towards SMRs provides new opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration. Finnish high-technology companies have a wide range of interesting co-offerings to develop new low-emission nuclear energy services globally. A collaboration environment is created through the facilitation of open collaboration discussions between the SMR focused organizations. Finnish SMR industry requires a responsible operator with a mandate to build more trust and business within the nuclear energy ecosystem. The SMR-HUB activities will be adjusted according to the strategic insights and needs of its members.

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LDR, 14.6. at 14-16 (EET)

The LDR-50 district heating reactor has been developed at VTT since 2020. From the technical point of view the reactor concept relies on conservative and established solutions, and many of the design challenges are simplified by the low operating temperature and pressure. Even so, bringing the technology from the conceptual level to a commercial product involves challenges that are common to all projects within the nuclear field. One of the topical questions is in what form will the LDR project  be pursued in the near future. Some possibilities include continuation of  the project as i) collaboration between VTT and companies with funding from the public and the private sector, ii) establishment of a new start-up company or iii) third party development with IPR acquisitioned from VTT and other partners. In option i) funding could be applied e.g. through the Finnish governmental funding instrument Business Finland, but the project would still need  strong industrial partners willing to put  their own money into the effort.  The same applies to the start-up option. Other  realization paths can  be suggested by parties interested in participating in the LDR project.

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Nuclear Robotics, 16.06. 14-16 (EET)

The Finnish organizations working in the digitalization & robotics R&D and nuclear energy development have identified common interests in Nuclear Robotics development. Remote and automated operations have great opportunities to increase both the safety and cost-effectiveness of nuclear reactor, laboratory and decommissioning operations. The Nuclear Robotics -project is an initial proposal by VTT to bring together the relevant expert organizations in Finland and to setup a Co-Innovation Project to bring this development forward. The initial meeting is organized to identify the expertise and interests of the potential partner network around the following topics:

  • Remote mapping and data modeling of nuclear facilities
  • Remote operation and maintenance of nuclear reactors
  • Robotic operations in radionuclide laboratories
  • Remote dismantling robots for radioactive environments
  • Automated monitoring fleets within radioactive environments