Korean collaboration to research marine SMR

11 June 2021

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries have announced plans to work together on the development of a molten salt reactor (MSR) for marine propulsion and floating nuclear power plants. Samsung Heavy Industries is also carrying out R&D into using ammonia and hydrogen to power ships in efforts to find alternative, low-emission propulsion options.

(Image: KAERI)

A cooperation agreement signed by the two organisations on 8 June at Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje Shipyard includes is aimed at joint research on MSR technology. This will include the design of an "offshore-based" small modular reactor, element technology/equipment development and performance verification, business model development and economic evaluation of offshore nuclear products.

"MSR is a carbon-free energy source that can efficiently respond to climate change issues and is a next-generation technology that meets the vision of Samsung Heavy Industries," the company's president, Jin-taek Jeong, said.

The development of marine transport ships based on MSR technology "can be a game changer in international logistics. MSR is a carbon-free energy source that can efficiently respond to climate change issues," KAERI President Won-seok Park added.

Shipping is seen as a 'hard-to-abate' sector for decarbonisation. The International Maritime Organisation aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, and eventually to eliminate them completely.

South Korea's Kepco Engineering & Construction Company and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on the development of floating nuclear power plants. Russia's first floating nuclear power plant, Akademik Lomonosov, started providing electricity in December 2019 to the isolated grid of the Chaun-Bilibino energy centre in Pevek, in the Chukotka region of Russia's Far East. China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear have also announced plans to construct demonstration small modular offshore multi-purpose reactors.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News