Page 52: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (September 2022)

The Marine Design Edition

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They’re also being called small “Thor is a very large investment,” says module (or multi-modular) reactors Ruud. “The customer is probably not

ABS, DOE to Examing Nuclear (SMRs). “As an energy source, SMRs the shipowner.”

Energy for Maritime provide the ? exibility to support appli- Leonid Andeev, writing about the

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) cations requiring electricity and heat,” economy of thorium for Norway’s Bel-

Of? ce of Nuclear Energy awarded

Lewis says, adding, “A key feature of lona Foundation in 2013, said that much

ABS a $800,000 research project the latest generation of SMRs is pas- was “speculative” about thorium’s eco- contract to research barriers to the sive safety to mitigate the likelihood nomic gains. “So far, one can offer but adoption of advanced nuclear propul- and scale of an accident.” We ask “guesstimates” as to the likely cost of sion on commercial vessels. ABS will whether consuming spent fuel from develop models of different advanced thorium-produced energy as compared existing reactors — sometimes called to that of energy derived from uranium.” reactor technologies for maritime

MOX — might be a worthwhile fea- He referred to a UK National Nuclear applications and develop an industry ture. Canadian reactors (CANDUs) Laboratory report from 2010: “the tho- advisory on the commercial use of once advertised this ? exible feedstock rium fuel cycle” did not, in 2010, “have modern nuclear power. In a separate, ability. Lewis says, “A feature of ad- a role to play in the UK context, other smaller award, DOE contracted ABS vanced, fast neutron SMRs is that they than its potential application for pluto- to support research into molten salt incorporate alternative coolants and nium management ... The technology is reactors being carried out by the advanced fuels.” innovative, although …immature and

University of Texas.

… not of interest to the utilities, repre-

Price “speculative” senting signi? cant ? nancial investment

Fast neutron SMRs suitable for marine propulsion are under and risk without notable bene? ts. In many cases, the bene? ts development in Europe, Japan, North America, Russia — and of the thorium fuel cycle have been overstated.”

Africa. In mid-August, President Biden promised cash for nu- clear research, just after the European Commission declared Marine-nuclear & CorePower nuclear power “green”. Matching funds are available for SMR What a difference a decade makes! Wikipedia will tell you “pilots” that do the demo and produce the docs to speed us of US interest and assistance in the Chinese MSR success. toward licensing. Class standard bearers, too, have shown a U.S. in? uence has also stirred renewed U.K. and Danish inter- keenness to help frontrunner designs and qualify the supply est not just in thorium but in its marine applications.

chain for “multi-module manufacture”. Lewis, insistent on the bene? ts, says, “Based on Terra- “We’re open to all supplies of tech. It could be a Norwegian Power’s MSR design, the U.K.’s CorePower is developing an solution,” says Kamsvaag, with Ruud adding, “We are too few MSR fuelled by chloride salts that is aimed speci? cally at ma- people. It has to be a global initiative.” rine applications. Designed for ship propulsion, CorePower

The world is knowledgeable about the costs. Just two of 17 plan to initially deploy its MSRs on ? oating production units thorium-powered reactors built in the world are still in service that produce hydrogen-based shipping fuels, such as ammo- (both in India). A prototype, utility-sized reactor is estimated nia.” A ? rst concept appears to be a container vessel. to cost “well under $1 billion” by US experts, or “$444 mil- Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ulsan National University of lion” by those in the know about SINAP’s thorium test build. Science and Technology is leading a consortium of indus-

Multipurpose: an illustration of Ulstein

International’s nuclear-powered Thor showing its ship-to-ship resupply boom and passenger transfer, and below a close-up of a replenishment operation.

Image courtesy Ulstein International

MR #9 (50-58).indd 52 9/7/2022 12:47:37 PM

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