newcleo, ship building major Fincantieri and certification body RINA have launched a joint feasibility study to explore the use of closed mini reactors for use on large marine vessels working together on feasibility study for nuclear naval propulsion.

Under the terms of this agreement, the three companies will carry out a feasibility study for nuclear applications in shipping, including newcleo’s lead-cooled small modular fast reactor (SMR) technology.

The deployment of newcleo’s reactor design would involve placing a closed mini reactor on vessels producing 30MWe. This would require refuelling only once every 10-15 years, very limited maintenance, and easy replacement at end of life.

Among other benefits, using clean nuclear energy to power marine vessels would help decarbonise a sector grappling with huge fossil fuel emissions.

Stefano Buono, newcleo Chairman and CEO, commented: "I am delighted that we are launching a project for civil nuclear naval propulsion with this important feasibility study. From our conception, newcleo's ambition is to contribute to accelerating decarbonisation and providing clean, sustainable and affordable energy to meet the needs of communities and businesses. I look forward to the results of the feasibility study and the next steps of the project.”

In a related development, the “Sevmorput” nuclear-powered container ship recently embarked on its subsidised domestic voyage from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to the port of Murmansk. The voyage is a crucial part of the “Northern Sea Route Development” federal project, as outlined in Russia’s Comprehensive Plan for the Modernisation and Expansion of the Main Infrastructure.

The vessel carries 204 40-foot refrigerated containers and despite facing harsher ice conditions this year during the summer-autumn navigation along the Northern Sea Route, with the eastern part of the Kara Sea still icebound, the “Sevmorput” will sail the route without the need for icebreaking.

“This year’s first subsidised domestic voyage evidences the willingness of shippers to transport products along the Northern Sea Route,” said Leonid Irlitsa, Atomflot Director General. “We left St. Petersburg for the Far East with 90% load ratio, while leaving Kamchatka the ship was 100% loaded having refrigerated containers onboard. Our customer attraction efforts brings results.”

The experienced crew will receive relevant recommendations from GlavSevmorput specialists. The estimated duration of the voyage from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to Murmansk is 14-15 days.

Image: Nuclear-powered container ship “Sevmorput” departs Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky for the port of Murmansk