A group of maritime and energy companies, including HD Hyundai subsidiary HD Korea Shipbuilding and Offshore Engineering (KSOE), has unveiled plans to develop small modular nuclear reactors for use on newbuild vessels after a joint research and technology exchange meeting. 

The meeting was held with TerraPower – which has been exploring nuclear power for ships for years – and Core Power and saw KSOE announce its plan to join the establishment of a system for the application of marine reactors with the International Atomic Energy Agency and classification societies ABS and Lloyd’s Register. 

Core Power founder Mikal Bøe said that the development highlights renewed interest in the idea of using nuclear as part of the maritime industry’s net zero ambitions. 

The reactors, which will be jointly developed by the three companies and their partners, will centre around TerraPower’s existing molten chloride fast reactor design, which operates at higher temperatures than conventional reactors to generate electricity more efficiently and without emissions. 

The collaboration is just one of many looking at the use of nuclear reactors on vessels, including one involving another major shipbuilder, Fincantieri, which signed an agreement with nuclear energy startup Newcleo and RINA last year. 

That collaboration is centred on deploying the startup’s lead-cooled fast reactor that would only need refuelling every 10-15 years.

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By GlobalData