Newcleo looks to raise £900 million for new technology builds

UK-headquartered nuclear player Newcleo is looking to raise some EUR1 billion  (£900 million) to further fund plans to enter the emerging small modular reactor (SMR) market.

The firm previously secured investment of EUR300 million to fund the construction of its first nuclear sites in the UK and France.

Founded in 2021, the company is headquartered in London with an international research and development centre in Turin, Italy. In addition, it has further operations in Bologna and at the ENEA Brasimone site, as well as a subsidiary in France.

According to the company, the fresh capital injection will support the design and build of the Mini 30MWe Lead-Cooled Fast Reactor (LCR) to be first deployed in France by 2030, followed by a 200MWe commercial unit in the UK.

The funds will also aid Newcleo’s strategic expansion into manufacturing nuclear fuel for its next-generation reactors made from existing waste produced by traditional reactors. This will include the establishment of a first Mixed Plutonium-Uranium Oxides (MOX) production plant in France, with another plant to follow later in the UK.

MOX, a nuclear fuel already approved for use in fast nuclear reactors in France, consists of depleted uranium (a by-product of the enrichment process of traditional reactors, for which there is currently no use but significant disposal costs), and plutonium.

Stefano Buono, Newcleo chairman and CEO, said: “Between now and 2050, electricity demand is set to triple, driven by economic growth and electrification. This is a huge increase, and against a backdrop of necessary decarbonisation.”

“At Newcleo, we are building a new competitive standard in nuclear energy to meet this rising demand for electricity in a sustainable manner. Our technology can address decarbonisation of the energy systems and security of energy supply, two of the biggest challenges facing countries around the world.”

So far in 2023 the firm has begun discussions or secured partnerships with 30 key players in the nuclear industry in France, Italy and in the UK. Public funding applications have been submitted in France, as well as the initial steps towards regulatory approvals, including the UK Generic Design Assessment (GDA) entry application.