Core Power Expects First Maritime Nuclear Orders Before 2030

by Jack Jordan, Managing Editor, Ship & Bunker
Tuesday June 4, 2024

Nuclear technology firm Core Power is expecting to see its first orders of vessels equipped with nuclear reactors before the end of this decade.

The firm is seeking to develop a market for the use of nuclear reactors at sea, both as floating power plants and in nuclear-powered ships.

CEO Mikal Bøe gave an update on the company's expectations at a press briefing in London on Friday.

"The formation of the first order book starts in 2028-29," Bøe told Ship & Bunker at the event.

"Our aim is to build a $10 billion order book by 2030, and the first deliveries would then be in 2030-35 -- we're not quite sure, but I'd say probably in the latter end of that bucket."

The company expects floating nuclear power plants to take up the first orders.

"The initial orderbook, I think, will be floating nuclear power," Bøe said.

"It's kind of a low-hanging fruit, a very big market, and it's easier to deliver from a regulatory point of view.

"But I would expect to see the first ship orders coming through not too late after that."

The firm expects a nuclear-powered ship to come with energy costs equivalent to $500-700/mt in fuel oil terms over a 25-year lifetime, with zero carbon emissions. Beyond the lack of carbon emissions, the main advantages would be in the excess energy the reactor would produce -- meaning the ship could move at much higher speeds, and potentially could send power back to the land-based grid while at berth.

One challenge would be the high up-front capital costs needed for a ship of this type, somewhere in the region of $700 million.

The next goal for the company will be to lobby for updates to standards from the IMO and IAEA to provide a regulatory framework for nuclear-powered shipping.

"We would expect the IMO to modernise and revise its current code for nuclear merchant ships by 2028," Bøe said.

"And then at the same time, we think the IAEA is pretty much ready to do this.

"They're doing it now, and I think that they'll be ready before the IMO.

"And then, of course, you really need to work separately with the insurance industry to make sure that they have the right liability regime in place."