Nuclear power offers a potential zero-emission energy solution for vessels and floating offshore assets. Advanced, modular nuclear reactors could generate significant amounts of energy from a relatively small, portable plug-and-play platform.
Several organizations are actively developing different types of small nuclear systems, including heat pipe reactors (HPR) and molten salt reactors (MSR). A single system could power a vessel or provide energy for alternative fuel production for dozens of years before refueling, replacing it with another reactor. Modularity, design standardization, and operational independence with minimal personnel interaction or maintenance make nuclear energy a potential effective power solution for vessels and offshore installations.
However, the broad adoption of nuclear power could face several challenges and consequences. Regulations on the use and transport of radioactive material will need to change at the local, national and international levels for the use of nuclear energy on commercial assets to be viable. Regulatory bodies would also need to address the increased volume of nuclear waste as more vessels adopt the technology.
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