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Crowley and BWXT team up for nuclear power plant concept ship

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In the latest potential nuclear development for shipping Crowley has inked an agreement with nuclear power firm BWX Technologies (BWXT) to develop a ship concept that has the potential to generate nuclear power.

The ship would supply small-scale nuclear energy to shoreside locations, providing power to military bases, backup utility grids, and other situations where traditional electricity sources are not feasible.

The vessel concept combines Crowley’s logistics and marine capabilities with BWXT’s nuclear expertise, aiming to support sustainable energy sources and the US Department of Energy’s nuclear energy technology goals.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will allow both companies to jointly pursue and develop opportunities relative to the design, engineering, and development of new shallow-draught hull ships.

“Our cooperation with BWXT will move Crowley for the first time into the nuclear energy sector, a key part of our commitment to sustainable, alternative energy sources. This concept supports the US Department of Energy’s goal of maintaining US leadership in nuclear energy technology as well as many the US Department of Defense’s strategic goals for operational energy,” said Shiju Zacharia, senior vice president and general manager, Crowley Government Solutions.

The concept vessel, measuring 115 metres aims to provide high levels of safety and security with in-house vessel design and nuclear components, fuel, and services. The ship will combine traditional propulsion with a modular reactor that can be activated and deactivated as needed. It can deliver power to shore using buoyed power delivery cables and has shallow draught hulls for maneuverability in military activities or during disasters when harbour access is limited.

“We are excited to work alongside Crowley to leverage our ongoing reactor development and demonstration programs, advancing nuclear technology into new and novel markets to deliver zero carbon emissions energy generation to strategic locations,” said Joe Miller, President of BWXT Advanced Technologies.

A number of major industry players are taking part. In research studies involving nuclear power including Samsung Heavy Industries, Italian shipbuilding major Fincantieri, Sinokor and HMM.