The main purpose of NuProShip I (Nuclear Propulsion of Merchant Ships 1) is to adjust a Generation IV SMR to the needs of international shipping. The technical starting point is an already approved design at 25–55 MW. The project is to study the feasibility of three different nuclear reactor concepts within the Generation IV domain. In addition to a smaller variant of LeadCold and KTH’s further development of the BREST reactor, a Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) and a high-temperature, helium gas cooled reactor (HTGR) will also be studied. The nuclear technology itself will be studied, but also regulatory issues, safety issues, ship design implications, maintenance, handling of radioactive rest material and crew requirements.
The project will then transform into a second project called NuProShip II whereby the chosen solutions in NuProShip I will be analyzed further with the intent of developing a workable prototype solution. In NuProShip III it will be tested.
NuProShip I is the first project in three projects that constitute the entire research program denoted NuProShip, an abbreviation for Nuclear Propulsion of merchant Ships. The ultimate purpose of the research program is to develop a commercially viable zero-emission technology for deep-sea ships that satisfies all stakeholders and requires no subsidies after the initial development process. These ships emit in total more climate gasses the all of Germany combined. Today, there are no viable solutions for this type of ships and most are even technically impossible. Hence, there is a solid case for executing this research program.
The research program is taking Generation IV reactors as its point of departure due to their superior performance on all parameters including safety, costs, waste, complexity and size. Developing such a technology for the maritime domain will be a "new to the world" innovation. Due to the complexities involved we must first perform a thorough concept and feasibility study, which is the objective of NuProShip I.
To pull this demanding project off, we have assembled experts in various domains. The expertise is not only academic, but also from real-life nuclear projects, real-life maritime shipping and real-life ship design, class and regulatory expertise. The work is split into four work packages each with major R&D challenges. The first is the nuclear island and everything that goes with it including land-based matters such as harbor and nuclear waste treatment. The second investigates all the technical implications for ships while the third studies the operational issues at sea. A fourth work package assembles all the insights from the previous three to estimate economic- and environmental effects including risks and future development needs.