South Korea's SK weighs investing in small nuclear reactors, eyes Bill Gates' TerraPower

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South Korea’s SK Group said on Tuesday (Apr 12) it was mulling investments in small-sized nuclear reactors and that one of the candidates was TerraPower, a US venture founded by Bill Gates.

A spokesperson for SK Inc, the holding company of the number three conglomerate in South Korea, confirmed that TerraPower is a potential investment target among many but nothing had been decided, including details such as the possible investment amount, stake size or partners.

Founded by Bill Gates in 2006, TerraPower designs small modular reactors (SMR) and plans to build its first reactor in Kemmerer, Wyoming by 2028. The US$4 billion project is scheduled to begin in 2024, according to the company.

The interest in SMR and TerraPower comes after SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won last year pledged to cut 200 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions in 2030, which is roughly 1 per cent of the global carbon elimination goal of 21 billion tons by 2030, according to SK Group.

President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has pledged his support for nuclear power, which generated 27 per cent of the nation’s electricity as of 2021, signaling a grand U-turn from incumbent President Moon Jae-in’s nuclear phase-out policy.