Nuclear deal will turn waste into fuel as MoU looks to kick start transition

A new agreement has been described as having the potential to “pave the way towards a sustainable and affordable, clean energy solution.”

Nuclear technology company, newcleo, which is developing innovative Generation IV reactors using nuclear waste as fuel, and Viaro Energy Limited (Viaro), a London-based independent upstream energy company, have announced a strategic partnership centred around the decarbonisation of the oil and gas sector through the deployment of what they described as cutting-edge low-carbon nuclear technology.

The agreement was sealed as newcleo and Viaro signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a framework for planned collaborative activities to decarbonise Viaro’s existing and future oil and gas infrastructure.

Francesco Mazzagatti, (pic) CEO of Viaro Energy, explained: “The partnership with newcleo is a major milestone in our strategy to exemplify the only economically viable approach to the energy transition by investing in both energy security and long-term net-zero goals. We are proud to spearhead decarbonisation efforts in the oil and gas sector through the implementation of newcleo’s clean nuclear energy technology into our operations.”

Under the terms of the agreement, newcleo is developing a unique lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR) technology which will be suitable for a wide range of locations thanks to its unique intrinsic safety and compact characteristics and can be co-located with electro-intensive industries. The LFRs will also run on reprocessed spent fuel currently created by existing reactors – not only reducing the climate footprint of newcleo’s own operations, but the company said it will also effectively close the fuel cycle, increase the useable energy from previously mined uranium, eliminate the need to extract and process new uranium resources and reduce the stock of long-lived wastes.

“Following the completion of feasibility studies, the companies will establish a joint venture for the deployment of newcleo’s 200MWe LFR reactors at chosen sites within Viaro’s portfolio, assessing both existing assets and prospective acquisitions in which Viaro is currently engage, the pair said in a statement. “The technology will contribute to net-zero goals by maximising the benefits of AMRs for cogeneration, combined heat and power and off-grid application. The average life span of an LFR reactor is 60 years and after the decarbonisation of the Viaro’s hydrocarbon assets, the LFRs will continue providing clean energy to the UK’s national electric grid and elsewhere across Europe where the technology is implemented.”

In addition to the executed MOU, as demonstration of its belief in newcleo’s potential for supporting the energy transition generally and specifically through the decarbonisation of oil and gas assets, Viaro revealed it has also directly invested in newcleo by way of acquiring shares in its latest capital raise.

Mazzagatti added: “We are confident in newcleo’s potential to pave the way towards a sustainable and affordable, clean energy solution, as evident from its already numerous partnerships with the leaders and pioneers of each core industry segment. It is because of my belief in the concept and the team behind it that both Viaro and myself personally have also acquired shares in newcleo.”

Stefano Buono, newcleo chairman and CEO, added: “This is an exciting partnership and demonstrates the potential for newcleo’s technology to support industrial decarbonisation. The transition to net-zero will only be achieved by decarbonising not only the energy, transport, and heat sectors but also energy intensive and ‘hard to abate’ heavy industries.

“Our technology means that, for the first time, nuclear reactors will provide decentralised, baseload, low-carbon energy to customers with enhanced safety and security of supply. Viaro’s pragmatic and forward-looking approach will help them to blaze a trail towards lower-carbon operations in the oil and gas sector and we are delighted to be partnering with them and to provide energy solutions to make their aims a reality.”