Fincantieri comes onboard nuclear power project

A European triumvirate is looking at developing nuclear propulsion for ships.

French nuclear developer newcleo has signed an agreement with Italian yard Fincantieri and class society RINA to carry out a feasibility study for nuclear applications to the shipping industry, including newcleo’s lead-cooled small modular reactor technology.

The deployment of newcleo’s technology would involve placing a closed mini reactor on vessels as a small nuclear battery producing a 30MW electric output. This would require infrequent refuelling estimated to be once every 10-15 years.

With newcleo’s design in the event of an accident the liquid lead inside the reactor would solidify as it cools down in contact with the cold water, enclosing the reactor core in a solid casing, and containing all radiation thanks to the shielding properties of lead.

Ugo Salerno, chairman and CEO of RINA, commented: “In order to reach the targets fixed for this industry, we need alternative fuels with low carbon content from well to waste. Nuclear will be one of the answers to these objectives.”

Across the world, there are now many nuclear shipping projects under way.

UK-based CORE POWER, together with Bill Gates-chaired TerraPower, Southern Company and French atomic group Orano, is developing a modular molten salt reactor to propel ships and provide reliable energy for manufacturing synthetic green fuels from hydrogen. The first prototype reactor is due to start trials in 2025.

In South Korea shipbuilding major Samsung Heavy Industries has teamed up with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute while Seaborg Technologies in Denmark is building floating power barges, and the Canadians are working with NuScale to develop marine power stations. The Russians, meanwhile, already have the market domestically and are now touting a huge new next generation nuclear-powered icebreaker as further proof of their maritime atomic expertise. Not to be left out, Chinese scientists are developing their own atomic propulsion technologies for both merchant marine and offshore facilities.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *