Why I’m excited about CorePower and why you should be too
How a Molten Salt Reactor can change the shipping industry forever
The need to move towards zero-carbon energy production across the globe is well documented. Our consumption of fossil fuels in transportation, heating, cooling and electricity generation needs to be replaced with more clean fuels.
“If we are to stem the tide of climate change, we need to replace combustion with other energy forms, such as advanced nuclear.”
We have only six sources of energy available to us:
- Fossil Fuels
- Geothermal heat
If we are going to cut down our use of fossil fuels, we must use combinations of the other five energy sources we have.
Nuclear plays a huge part in our efforts to create a human society that runs on 100% green and clean energy if you consider that Solar and Wind are intermittent in that you need a windy or sunny day, whereas nuclear energy is produced 24/7.
Before I continue, I would like to tackle the elephant in the room, in that there remains a widespread understanding that nuclear energy is dangerous and bad for the environment.
“The fear of nuclear is an old-fear, born from war. The advanced nuclear energy technology we are building today is clean, efficient and promises to transform the way we think of our energy future.” Core Power
As part of my work with Get Into Nuclear, I am in discussions about nuclear energy with people of all ages and backgrounds. There are many concerns raised, but they all tend to revolve around the below 6 topics,
- Environmental impact
- Old technology
- What about the waste?
It is not the topic of this article to go into detail in answering these concerns.
However, I will point you to a couple of resources to read up more — I’ve added an anti-nuclear page to help give you a balanced view.
Hopefully, you will have the same opinion of myself that the science speaks for itself and nuclear energy is safe, reliable, clean, innovative, value for money and takes responsibility for its waste.
Who Is Core Power?
In their own words:
“CORE POWER provides marine engineering and co-funds developments of advanced nuclear energy technologies which are appropriate for maritime use.
We are developing what will become a licensed, type-approved advanced nuclear-electric power package for ocean transportation and heavy industry.
CORE POWER leads the work required to modernize regulations of maritime and advanced nuclear as a key pillar of sustainability.
Maritime is a fiercely competitive business, and technological solutions that lead us towards sustainability must come with benefits to match the costs.
Our industry engagement, regulatory consultation, design and engineering will result in a competitive true-zero emission power system for the future of maritime by 2030.”
What Is Advanced Nuclear?
The explanation given by the UK Government is:
Advanced Nuclear Technologies encompass a wide range of nuclear reactor technologies under development. The technologies share common attributes:
- smaller than conventional nuclear power station reactors
- designed so that much of the plant can be fabricated in a factory environment and transported to the site, reducing construction risk and making them less capital-intensive
As such many of the advance nuclear under development are referred to as Small Modular Reactors or SMR’s for short.
Why Advanced Nuclear?
There are a number of key reasons that Core Power are getting excited about advanced nuclear.
Small reactors can be quickly built bringing the opportunity to be mass-manufactured to the highest quality standards. In comparison conventional large scale reactors which are usually one-off construction projects.
Using Core Power’s marine engineering experience, mass manufacturing of advanced reactors in modern shipyards provides a stable supply chain, a central production facility and ultimately a faster time to market.
Smaller reactors produce less energy, therefore consuming less fuel, making them perfect for industrial energy demands.
Advanced nuclear has the capability to be deployed on floating assets. With Core Power’s experience in the maritime industry, this could decarbonise the shipping industry which currently includes over 100,000 units, 99.97% of which are powered by diesel engines.
Advanced nuclear can give clean and long fuel cycles for industrial assets with minimal waste and will be a central component in the fight against climate change for heavy transport and industry.
“Over the next few decades, the global shipping industry must transition from combustion of fossil fuels to true zero-emission power and propulsion.”
“Only advanced nuclear can achieve true-zero emission power required for large ships whilst improving cargo-carrying capacity, increasing speeds, and working for longer.”
“Introducing advanced nuclear as a propulsion system for large ships would inevitably come with a drastic improvement in vessel construction, operation, and management. Ownership, classification, flags, and insurance would change, and the recruitment, education and training of seafarers would be more like that of the airline industry than of the shipping industry as it is today.”
“Core Power is actively working to make this a reality.”
To do achieve this goal, Core Power are actively building a Client Partnership Programme that enables stakeholders from heavy industry, transport, finance, and the regulation to engage and learn about advanced nuclear for maritime applications.
Core Power are certainly making waves in the nuclear and shipping industries.
Their report titled “The New Alchemy” which is available on their website made headline news.
The report promotes the business case for the production of ammonia as a green fuel for international shipping which could be produced in floating nuclear power plants.
It is difficult to disagree that there are some exciting things happening in the world of nuclear.
Not only is nuclear energy a direct source of clean energy, but can support other interesting applications as part of creating a sustainable, clean environment for future generations.
Keep an open mind about the nuclear industry, and if you have any reservations around the technology itself, ask the question and I will come back to you with an answer.
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