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Carbon neutrality

Hyundai E&C teams up with US Holtec on SMR business

Cooperation to help Hyundai E&C in its transition from builder to pre-construction solutions partner

By Nov 25, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Holtec CEO Kris Singh (left) and Hyundai E&C CEO Yoon Young-joon sign a teaming agreement (Courtesy of Hyundai E&C)
Holtec CEO Kris Singh (left) and Hyundai E&C CEO Yoon Young-joon sign a teaming agreement (Courtesy of Hyundai E&C)

South Korea’s builder Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. (Hyundai E&C). is set to join the small modular reactor (SMR) business in cooperation with Holtec International, a leading US company in the nuclear reactor industry.

SMRs are drawing attention as next-generation energy sources due to their lower investment costs and fewer carbon emissions than existing large nuclear power plants.

The two companies signed a teaming agreement to develop a commercialization model and cooperate in marketing and bidding, a construction unit of Hyundai Motor Group said on Nov. 24.

The cooperation combines Holtec’s expertise in design, engineering, manufacturing, and project delivery of nuclear components with Hyundai E&C’s EPC and construction management capabilities for major projects, Holtec said on Nov. 22, separately.

Holtec said Hyundai E&C will work on the detailed design of the balance of plant and prepare the full plant construction specifications for the SMR-160, an advanced pressurized water reactor that produces up to 160 MWe electric power, under development by Holtec since 2010.


The SMR-160 can be set up in areas with extreme conditions such as in deserts or polar regions with its safety confirmed through virtual simulations of risk events such as the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 and terrorist attacks. The reactor can be installed on a small area of land through modularization, making it easier to find a site compared to large nuclear power plants. In addition, a small module nuclear power plant can be connected after installation to an existing nuclear power plant, if necessary.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) funding to Holtec’s SMR-160 small modular reactor program, Holtec said in December 2020. The award was granted through the ARDP pathway for Risk Reduction for Future Demonstrations to support the SMR-160’s commercialization readiness so it can be licensed and deployed in the near term, according to Holtec.

The company completed the first phase of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission's (CNSC) “Pre-Licensing Review of a Vendor’s Reactor Design” for the SMR-160.

Hyundai E&C secured a future growth engine through the cooperation that is slated to expand its business portfolio into new eco-friendly and low-carbon sectors in the US.

“We have laid the groundwork to move away from orders and construction-oriented businesses to become a pre-construction solutions partner,” Hyundai E&C CEO Yoon Young-joon said. “We will make all-out efforts for new businesses such as construction automation and smart cities.”

Write to Jeong-Jin Eun at

Jongwoo Cheon edited this article.

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