Speaking to Seatrade Maritime News at Singapore Maritime Week, Mikal Boe, Chairman and CEO of Core Power, says they had reached the $100m funding milestone. “So, the funding of new nuclear has happened. We started five years ago with an idea and that idea is now funded.”
The $100m in funding provides Core Power’s share in a $600m programme by the US government to build a test reactor. The first reactor will be built by the end of 2025/early 2026.
“That's going to be the world's first molten chloride fast reactor, it's going to be the start of a brand new energy system,” Boe declares. He believes it will change way that nuclear power works and with it potentially the way that maritime works.
The $100m in funding comes the maritime industries rather than venture capital or the likes of Wall Street financiers. “It's all shipowners, charterers, shipyards, trading houses, banks, insurance companies, all shipping money, this is by the industry for the industry.”
Boe declines to name any of Core Power’s investors but describes them as “household names” in commodities and big private and public shipowners. A strong interest comes from Japan with Japanese companies accounting for around 25% of the investment.
The first experimental reactor will give Core Power the data for a design prototype.
He says the investors see a potential for a good financial return assuming project works in the way Core Power believes it will, and also the opportunity to be the first customers. For Core Power it builds the potential for a very powerful orderbook, although it will be up to the investors if they want to become customers.
The development programme envisages the first deployment of the technology around 2030 – 2032. Core Power’s aim is for shipyard manufactured floating nuclear power plants that would produce green power from hydrogen that would come from seawater. These could be anchored offshore at key bunkering ports meaning that fuels are produced locally rather than having to be imported.
Taking the example of green methanol Boe believes it could bring the cost down from a prohibitive $7,000 per tonne marine equivalent to a level that on a par with fossil fuels plus a carbon taxes of around $1,000 - $1,200 per tonne. “Then you can start producing those fuels where you need them rather than in some central location,” Boe says.
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