Core Power (UK) has joined an international team to develop Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) atomic technology that could provide sufficient energy to power ships.

The international team includes utility company Southern Company, nuclear innovation company TerraPower, which is chaired by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and nuclear technology company Orano USA.

Core Power CEO Mikal Bøe said: “We’re pleased to work with such outstanding partners in developing game-changing technology to help transport an industry transition to a clean energy future.”

The team has applied to the US Department of Energy to participate in the cost-share risk reduction awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme.

The team would develop a prototype MSR as a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade reactor.

Bøe concluded: “The implications of the MSR for transport and industry could be transformational as we seek to build scale-appropriate technology and broad acceptance of modern and durable liquid-fuelled atomic power to shape the future of how we deal with climate change.”

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The next few decades would see as many as 60,000 ships shifting from fossil fuels technology to zero-emission propulsion technology.

UN’s maritime agency IMO has directed the shipping industry to reduce emissions by half from the 2008 figure, prior to 2050.

The MSR technology is being developed with the goal of powering production of green sustainable fuels for smaller ships and offering on-board electric power for large ships with zero emissions as standard.