Innovation That Matters

A radical change in design makes the CMSRs smaller, lighter and thus mobile | Photo source Seaborg

Seaborne nuclear power plants provide affordable electricity alternative

Agriculture & Energy

The small size of the new reactors makes for easy transport, thus creating mobile energy sources

Spotted: Designed to meet the world’s fast-growing demand for electricity, each of the ship-based power stations could provide energy for up to 24 years. Built by Danish company Seaborg Technologies, the Compact Molten Salt Reactor (CMSR) is a safer, more sustainable source of nuclear energy. Designed explicitly to support economic, social and environmental sustainability, the CMSRs provide low-emission energy at a price and in a quantity that supports the needs of rapidly developing countries.

A radical change in design makes the CMSRs smaller, lighter and thus mobile. Liquid salt is mixed with fuel, rather than using solid rods like those in traditional nuclear power stations. The company is already considering future-proofing, with the reactors designed to enable the eventual use of non-conventional fuel sources, including waste from current nuclear reactors.

In case of an emergency, the liquid salt cools and hardens into solid rock, holding the radioactive material within itself. The reactor then shuts itself down without releasing any pollution. Having recently met the first regulatory milestone for use of nuclear power plant ships, the team is on track to produce a full-scale prototype in 2025, with commercial availability planned for 2027.

Previous nuclear innovations have tended to focus on improving the disposal processes for radioactive waste, like this highly absorbent cement. More recent technological developments, such as this nuclear reactor 3D printing project, allow teams to approach the challenges of nuclear energy from different angles, helping to reshape the accessibility and safety of the entire industry.

Written By: Lisa Magloff

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