Nuclear commercial ships have been studied for decades and there is renewed interest. The newest justifications focus on the decarbonization climate change aspects. The first nuclear navy ship was launched in 1954. It was the US nuclear submarine.
The US had the nuclear-powered cargo ship NS Savannah launched in 1959.
The Russian Sevmorput is the world’s only civilian nuclear-powered cargo ship. It was commissioned in 1988. It is being used to deliver about 20,000 tons of cargo to mainly Antarctic routes.
A nuclear ship is about 50% faster than a diesel ship. A three-week run from China to the US would be completed in two weeks.
There has been progress to small modular nuclear reactors. The NuScale 76 MWe reactor Commercial shipping uses nearly 10% of the world’s oil and generates more air pollution. The air pollution is worse because they use the cheapest and dirtiest oil (bunker fuel). There are around ten thousand commercial ships.
China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co (COSCO) studied nuclear commercial shipping for several years.
SOURCES- Hackaday, Barents Observer, Nuscale
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigufuture