UK-based Lloyd’s Register (LR), international shipping company Zodiac Maritime, and South Korea’s HD KSOE and Kepco E&C have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a project for the research and development of nuclear-propelled ship designs, including bulk carriers and container ships.

HD KSOE and Kepco E&C will provide designs for future vessels and its reactors while LR will assess rule requirements for safe operation and regulatory compliance models. The partners will work to address the challenges involved with nuclear propulsion, such as applying existing terrestrial nuclear technology to ships, and the project will enable Zodiac to evaluate ship specifications and voyage considerations around nuclear technology.

In a joint statement, Senior Vice President (Green Energy Technology) at HD KSOE Park Sang-Min and Executive Senior Vice President & Board Member at Kepco E&C Park, Beom-Seo said: “As leading companies in the shipbuilding and nuclear industry, HD KSOE and Kepco E&C, are collaborating on the design of a nuclear propulsion ship. A Nuclear propulsion ship emits no carbon, and its paramount goal is to be designed with a life cycle cost (LCA) of less than half that of carbon neutral ships.

Sung-Gu Park, President North East Asia at LR said Lloyd’s Register believes there is “huge opportunity for nuclear technology to support the maritime energy transition and provide long-term low- or zero-carbon fuel supply security”. He added: “We have been assessing nuclear’s potential over many decades and we are delighted to partner with Zodiac, HD KSOE and Kepco on this R&D project for nuclear-propelled ships.”

Stavros Hatzigrigoris, New Buildings Director at Zodiac Maritime, said the shipping industry is on an exciting but challenging journey as we transition towards a zero-carbon future. “There is clearly great potential for nuclear technology to play a key part in achieving this mission, but the industry is only in the early stages of putting nuclear power to the test. We are therefore thrilled to partner with HD KSOE, Kepco and LR on this JDP and help facilitate the research and development needed to accelerate nuclear power technology in shipping.”

Image: Representatives from LR, Zodiac, HD KSOE and KEPCO E&C at HD Hyundai's R&D Center (courtesy of Lloyd's Register)