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Nuclear Energy in Ships

Pre-study on combined existing knowledge on use of nuclear as energy source in ships.

In recent years, the shift towards sustainable energy has sparked renewed interest in nuclear propulsion for ships. This is particularly relevant due to the limitations of green alternatives currently available, especially for larger vessels that require significant energy for operations across oceans and long-distance voyages. This study will provide a concise overview of the current situation, future expectations, and key challenges faced both today and moving forward. It will cover areas such as technological advancements, market trends, public discussion, insurance and liability issues, regulatory authorities, and upcoming regulations.

Inside the maritime cluster, there are already R&D initiatives and concepts:

• NUPROSHIP 1 – A project to find a suitable reactor for ships
• NEMO - Net Zero for Nuclear Powered Trawler
• THOR – An Ulstein developed concept that looks at a combined cargo and research ship for Arctic waters operated on a Thorium-based molten salt reactor.

This study will 

  • Map out the developments within research, regulatory landscape, and the commercial technology within maritime nuclear power.
  • Establish an overview of which of the new technologies suit the different vessel segments that the cluster operates.
  • Present a current status report and future outlook, focusing on challenges and potential advancements in maritime nuclear power.
  • Identify key internal and external stakeholders required for the further development of maritime nuclear power in the cluster. 

The study includes the following respondents: 

Ulstein, Skipsteknisk, IFE, NTNU, Corepower, Microuranus Seoul National University, Bureau Veritas, Babcock International, Lloyds Register, Norsk Kjernekraft AS and Leadcold 


Knut Tore Aurdal

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Project Assistant

Reidar Skipø Øiestad