SeAH Besteel has won an order from the United States to produce casks for transporting spent nuclear fuel, taking an important step toward building the nuclear power plant dismantling industry.
SeAH Besteel signed a contract to supply 17 spent nuclear fuel containers with Orano TN, a U.S. company which transport and store radioactive materials, on Oct. 2.
SeAH Besteel is planning to step up its efforts to penetrate the back-end nuclear fuel cycle market such as dismantling nuclear power plants and waste management. “It is quite meaningful that we have received an order for spent nuclear fuel containers from the United States, which is very strict about safety verification,” a SeAH Besteel official said. “Even though the order is small, we believe that it is an important stepping stone for our expansion into the global market.”
The Korean government is also active in fostering the Korean back-end nuclear fuel cycle industry. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held a nuclear technology export strategy meeting on Sept. 19 and laid out a plan to foster the back-end nuclear fuel cycle industry. Of the 453 nuclear power plants in operation around the world, 68 percent are more than 30 years old. This means that the back-end nuclear fuel cycle business can be a blue ocean. The nuclear power plant decommissioning market will grow to 549 trillion won over the next 100 years, the ministry forecast. The spent nuclear fuel container market is expected to reach US$12.4 billion by 2030.
SeAH Besteel could win the order as it has steadily invested in technology development. However, the company has not yet achieved 100 percent technological localization. “SeAH Besteel received technological consultations from Orano in designing the container. But the company carried out materials procurement and production on its own,” the official said. “We have not fully localized the technology yet, but we succeeded in entering the market for the first time. We have also become a partner of Orano, the world's leader in the back-end nuclear fuel cycle market, can take advantage of its stable sales network.”