Nuclear powered ships?

Should US take a lead in developing nuclear powered ships?:

Nuclear powered pusher tugs on the Mississippi anyone??

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I believe that the US did some work on molten salt reactors at Oak Ridge in 1947 with the idea of using it in an aircraft.

They had NS Savannah:

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I worked with an engineer who sailed on the Otto Hahn, the German nuclear powered vessel. From what I understand the molten salt reactors are much safer than the reactors used in MV Savannah or MV Otto Hahn.

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Right but safety it’s not the issue, as US subs teach us.
Maintenance and servicing yap!
Savannah’s history marks it well…

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Many thanks for your comments related to the development of advanced atomic reactors for shipping. We work with Core Power a UK based company developing maritime modular Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) with its US partners. There are a few few key differences between PWR reactors used by many navies around the world and MSR.

  1. First the MSR reactor is fuelled for 30 years, with no need to re~fuel
    2.The reactor operates at ambient pressure and can’t explode.
  2. The fuel and the coolant are combined so.the reactor cannot overheat.
  3. The MSR is highly efficient and use more than 95% of its fuel, leaving very little waste.
  4. The small amount of residual waste contains rare isotopes that can be used in medical equipment.
  5. There are close to zero emissions.

We would welcome feedback on the potential to use this technology in US coastal waters on US flagged vessels.

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What have you done to solve the material science problems inherent in MSR designs?

Is it a dual reactor design? How long is power output continuance in the event of a failure leading to solidification?

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Many thanks MAK, I have asked one of Core Power’s technical team to answer that question. BR Russ

Absolutes in a sales pitch raise red flags to me. After all, the Titanic was unsinkable.

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Yes, I think you’re absolutely right in your thinking. The regulatory regime, if any of these vessels powered by MSR go into service, is going to be mind boggling.
However, when we look at the safety record so far of LNG shipping it has been exemplary. The ships up until recently have been crewed by a single nationality belonging to long established maritime nations. I would expect that any move to nuclear powered ships would follow the same pattern.

I probably allowed far too much room for interpretation. I am a strong advocate for nuclear energy, both shoreside and afloat. I really don’t think that there would be issue; technology and processes have improved drastically. Should there be issue, I suspect resolutions would be swift, efficient, and without major fallout. (Pun intended)

Being the firm believer I am in nuclear, I hold issue with such absolutes being tossed around as negative opinions can quickly spiral out of control should something minor happen, after all it’s been sold as “fail proof.” Incidents happen. Don’t cut your own legs out from under you, public opinion is a powerful engine.

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My though exactly!

The fate of the NS Savannah is a complete disgrace. There’s a whole cluster of people who follow her around from shipyard to shipyard overseeing her 30 year painful decommissioning, many of who have built their entire careers on that one superfund site alone….

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These ships would be a security nightmare, can you imagine terrorists or pirates getting a hold of one :fearful:
This is a real shame, last time I sailed by the Savannah I thought she was a real beauty, she looks more like a big yacht than a cargo ship or God forbid one of the floating monstrosities that pass as cruise ships now.

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What are they supposed to do that is worse that what they could do with say a loaded VLNGC?

The latest on the subject of Nuclear power for ship’s propulsion:

Hi, this is the Outer Mongolian and Liberian Shipping Company fully staffed with graduates of the nuclear reactor school in Sierra Leone and we want to anchor our nuclear ship near your house, do you mind?

or…

Blackbeard, Redbeard, and Nobeard Pirates and Brigands LLC has captured a nuclear powered ship. Nothing to worry about, what could possibly go wrong :roll_eyes:

There is a HUGE public image issue to overcome that did not exist when the Savannah was laid down.

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Well it could be worse, it could be; “QAnon Shipping Inc., fully staffed with Rednecks that graduated (without a test) from the “Nuclear Reactor School” in NO La.”

Yes, public perception and reality is often far apart.
“Sensation media” with an agenda helps to fire up under misconceptions, (not only about International Shipping and Molten Salt Reactors).

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The Q ship company is stuck in the pizza parlor basement, so they are not going anyplace soon :rofl:

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Back in the 80’s and 90s when Navy Homeport was active they had the nuke school there. There were three working nuclear reactors inside NYC limits. That would never fly these days.

There have also been nuclear submarine transits through the Harbor and East river to get to Groton.

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The general public is not worried about US Navy ships melting down or exploding. Random ships from random place with various flags of convenience, maybe a bit more worried.

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