Essel Group Middle East (EGME) has reached an agreement with LeadCold Reactors (LeadCold), the Swedish-Canadian lead-cooled small nuclear reactor technology company, to invest $18m in the Group.

EGME's investment forms part of the company's strategic ambition to build out its presence in the energy resources market globally and to deploy capital where Management sees strong long-term fundamental needs for the resources product.

LeadCold's Swedish Advanced Lead Reactor, or SEALER design can generate low-carbon nuclear power production of 3-10 MW of electricity over a 10-30 year period, with no refuelling needs. The reactor uses break-through corrosion resistant technology, and it is a safe, reliable and cost- competitive base-load power generation source.

Gagan Goel, Managing Director of EGME, said: "This investment marks another important step forward in the development of our energy resources business. The SEALER unit that LeadCold Reactors has developed is an exciting innovation, representing a world first in lead-cooled reactor technology. We see a solid long-term investment opportunity from the commercialisation of this unique reactor technology in the off-grid power generation market."

The investment from EGME is intended to enable LeadCold to complete a pre- licensing design review of SEALER with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and to aid R&D efforts necessary to obtain a license to build commercial SEALER units in Canada. LeadCold intends to enter Phase 1 of the pre-licensing review this year, with the eventual license for construction to be granted by the end of 2021.

The SEALER units are intended for commercial off-grid use, for example in Arctic communities and mining operations, where at present carbon-emitting and costly diesel generators are the predominantly used base-load generation technology.

The company is looking to launch its advanced technology across Canada's Nunavut region, where it has identified an over-reliance on diesel, and potentially across the Northwest Territories in the future, with its first unit scheduled to be operational by around 2025. LeadCold estimates the Nunavut region has energy needs of approximately 200 GWh, and the Northwest Territories around twice this amount. In addition, the company sees scope for reactor usage across Canada in up to 40 mining sites, which could use 2-4 reactors per mine.

Janne Wallenius, CEO and founder of LeadCold, said: "We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Essel Group ME. The investment represents a major funding milestone as we enter the initial phase of the Canadian pre- licencing review process and will bolster our R&D capabilities."