top of page

Nuclear-powered ship


Technology Description

The first US nuclear-powered merchant ship, the N.S. Savannah, was built in 1959. Russia has currently 6 nuclear icebreakers in operation. Naval reactors currently used on ice-breakers and military ships are pressurised-water type running on highly-enriched uranium, which enables a high power density and a duration of 10 years or more before refuelling. In the future, marine applications could take advantage of modern Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), like Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTR) or Molten Salt Reactors (MSR) that accept low enriched uranium (or thorium) fuel and can potentially eliminate the need for refuelling altogether during the life of the ship.

Relevance for Net Zero

Due to the large capital expenditure required for the initial investment and operational and maintenance costs, nuclear-powered ships have fallen short of their potential and failed to become profitable up to now. Safety, non-proliferation, nuclear waste management and decommissioning issues are major hurdles that could impede wider adoption.

Key Countries

WhatsApp Image 2024-02-06 at 3.17.05 PM.jpeg
Share your challenge to quickly find solutions
Have a solution for
this technology?

List your innovation on the InCarbZero platform and increase your visibility to industry partners.

bottom of page