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A nuclear option - Molten Salt Reactor to reduce shipping’s GHG emissions

Photo: Chris Pagan - Unsplash Chris Pagan - Unsplash.jpg
A UK-US consortium is looking to develop Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) atomic technology that can help power the production of green sustainable fuels for smaller ships and provide onboard electric power for large ships.

Core Power (UK), Southern Company, TerraPower and Orano USA have forged a partnership to develop the MSR atomic technology in the US.

“The implications of the MSR for transport and industry could be transformational, as we seek to build scale-appropriate technology and broad acceptance of modern and durable liquid-fuelled atomic power to shape the future of how we deal with climate change,” said Mikal Boe, ceo of London-based Core Power.

Core Power noted that over the next few decades, as many as 60,000 ships must transition from combustion of fossil fuels to zero-emission propulsion. The IMO has mandated that shipping must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% of the 2008 total, before 2050. This means an actual emission reduction of almost 90%, by 2050.

The MSR technology being developed by the consortium could help in achieving that goal, by powering production of green sustainable fuels for smaller ships and offering onboard electric power for large ships, with zero emissions as standard.

The consortium has submitted its application to the US Department of Energy to take part in cost-share risk reduction awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme to build a prototype MSR, as a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade reactor.