Bill Gates’ TerraPower Partners with Largest Shipbuilder for Clean Nuclear-Powered Ocean Shipping

Mark Landers
By Mark Landers

The journey towards cleaner seas takes a big leap forward, thanks to a bold move by the world’s top shipbuilder, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE), a part of the HD Hyundai family. They’ve teamed up with nuclear tech innovators Core Power and TerraPower, aiming to power ships with nuclear energy. This exciting collaboration kicked off at a tech meeting in Washington, D.C., under the watchful eyes of HD Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Nuclear propulsion is the game-changer here. It’s all about using nuclear energy, from reactors, to push ships through the water. This method could mean ships sail faster, further, and don’t need to burn dirty fossil fuels.

The star of this nuclear show is TerraPower’s molten chloride fast reactor (MCFR). It’s a new kind of nuclear reactor that works at high temperatures to make electricity generation super efficient and totally clean. TerraPower, started by tech mogul Bill Gates, champions this design on their website, highlighting its eco-friendly credentials.

HD Hyundai isn’t just talking big; they’re putting money where their mouth is. In November 2022, they poured $30 million into TerraPower, showing they’re serious about nuclear-powered ships. This isn’t a small step; it’s a giant leap towards sustainable sea travel. Right now, over 160 ships use more than 200 small nuclear reactors. These aren’t just subs but include icebreakers and aircraft carriers too, showing how versatile nuclear power can be at sea.

Yet, sailing into a nuclear future isn’t without its challenges. Safety and regulation are big deals. That’s why KSOE is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and big names in ship certification like ABS and LR. They’re all about making sure nuclear ships are safe and sound.

Mikal Boe, the boss at Core Power, summed it up perfectly for Trade Winds News. Bringing Hyundai’s shipbuilding prowess together with Core Power’s industry-wide support, he said, “shows how the shipping industry is moving towards a net-zero future with new nuclear solutions.” With this dream team, the push for nuclear-powered ships is picking up speed, aiming to make our oceans cleaner and our shipping industry greener.

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