Nuclear Power Could Revolutionize Shipping, Says Lloyd’s Register

Nuclear power could transform the maritime industry with emissions-free shipping, whilst extending the life cycle of vessels and removing the uncertainty of fuel and refuelling infrastructure development, but regulation and safety considerations must be addressed for its widespread commercial adoption, reveals Lloyd’s Register’s (LR) Fuel for Thought: Nuclear report.

The report explores how nuclear power, which has a proven record in naval ships, could be adapted for commercial shipping. Small modular reactors (SMRs) are highlighted as a key technology, offering low-maintenance solutions for powering commercial vessels.

The report suggests that in the future, shipowners may lease power from reactor owners, simplifying the process by avoiding the need to manage nuclear technology directly. As SMR technology advances and regulations become clearer, new ship designs optimized for nuclear power will emerge, leading to more efficient and eco-friendly ships.

Groundbreaking ABS Study Explores Potential of Commercial Nuclear Propulsion

Safety is a major focus, with the report emphasizing the need for strict safety protocols to protect crews and the environment. LR proposes a Risk Based Certification (RBC) approach to help early adopters prove their nuclear ships are as safe as traditional ones.

The report also notes that while technological readiness is improving, public acceptance and investment in nuclear-powered ships remain low due to concerns and uncertainties. Promising technologies include pressurized water reactors (PWR), micro reactors, and molten salt reactors (MSR).

Mark Tipping, LR’s Power to X director, highlighted the potential benefits, saying, “Nuclear propulsion could provide immense value for the maritime sector in its decarbonization journey, allowing for emissions-free vessels with longer life cycles and minimal refueling needs.”

As technology and regulations progress, nuclear power could play a crucial role in making shipping greener and more efficient.

Back to top button