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Fourth-generation nuclear reactors as a source of propulsion for maritime traffic

Maritime transport as a whole is one of the largest producers of CO2. If we were to consider it as a country, it would rank sixth, just above Germany. The challenge facing the sector is therefore significant, and only innovative and socially responsible solutions can solve the problem.

Today, nuclear energy is in the limelight and is seen as part of the solution to something as seemingly innocuous and familiar as CO2, which is responsible for global warming and climate change.

In line with this fight against global warming, the inclusion of fourth-generation nuclear reactors (sustainable, non-proliferation and financially viable) as a source of energy and propulsion for maritime transport would be so positive that there are already several new companies (Seaborg & Hyundai Heavy Industries, Corepower, Thorcon, etc.) and major consortia (Samsung Heavy Industries & KAERI) consolidating their positions in a niche market with great potential.

The consortium led by NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), of which IDOM is a member, provides technical knowledge and a willingness to contribute to a sustainable future, working to decarbonize maritime transport, thereby improving the quality of life for all and the legacy we leave for future generations.

It is worth noting that the NuProShip I project is being funded by Norwegian government agencies, demonstrating their commitment to innovative solutions focused on solving real problems without falling into sterile ideologies.

It is an honor that this prestigious university has chosen IDOM NS to lead the work package on the so-called Nuclear Island, the heart of this nuclear-powered vessel. Among the tasks to be carried out is the selection of the best reactor models adaptable to this purpose. This selection will be carried out using Hierarchical Process Analysis, a methodology used in various fields for decision-making in complex environments. Once the most suitable reactors have been selected, neutron analyses will be carried out using internally developed 3D models, which will be used, for example, to calculate the weight of the shielding required to operate them safely for the crew, the public and the environment.

Once the technical and financial viability of this proposal has been demonstrated, NTNU will apply for further government funding to carry out the engineering phase, which will involve adapting this proposal to an existing gas tanker, in collaboration with the owner company, which has already shown interest.

March 17, 2023


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