What is Nuclear? 

Nuclear reactors harness the thermal energy released through controlled nuclear fission to generate heat that can then be used for conversion to electrical power or direct thermal energy for heating purposes. Using nuclear for shipping propulsion does not emit any GHGs.

Advantages and disadvantages of nuclear

  • Advantages
  • Disadvantages
  1. Straightforward onboard requirements: Nuclear reactors take up significantly less space than is required for alternative fuels, and no regular maintenance and operational crew input is needed. Additionally, there is safety by design (in the structure)

  2. Infrequent bunkering: Regular bunkering is not required, saving time and costs associated with bunkering stops.

  3. Zero emissions: No GHG emissions or particulate matter are produced during operation.

  4. Depleted fuel management: Much of the waste can be used for power using new-generation nuclear technologies. 

  1. Public perception and understanding: Nuclear power's perceived safety risks and potential environmental impact have led to opposition from communities and environmental organisations.

  2. Disposal of radioactive waste: This requires secure and sustainable solutions to prevent environmental contamination.

  3. Safety considerations: Nuclear power systems require stringent safety measures to ensure any incidents have low consequences. 

There is an increase in investment and development of new technologies that could be deployed in shipping, such as heat pipes and molten salt reactors

Investment trend

Policy needs to be stable and consistent across the value chain and globally

Policy challenge

Trials and evidence are needed to influence community perceptions of nuclear shipping

Community challenge