Core Power thinks nuclear will make waves in commercial shipping

Illustration of Core Power’s modular MSR concept. Image: Core Power

Core Power is a tiny startup that is bullish on the prospects for nuclear-powered ocean transportation. The company announced on November 2 that it is part of a team that has applied for a cost-shared award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) to build a prototype molten salt reactor (MSR). Core Power believes that MSRs could be used for propulsion or electricity generation to decarbonize the world’s commercial shipping fleet.

Based in London, England, Core Power is the only non-U.S. member of the team, which includes TerraPower, Southern Company, and Orano USA. As a marine engineering firm, Core Power says that it offers its ARDP partners “access to pent-up demand from a market with real customers.” An announcement of ARDP “risk reduction for future demonstrations” award winners is expected in December.

A look back at 1984 U.K. spent fuel flask test

The government of the United Kingdom conducted a series of tests in the 1980s to assess the robustness of spent nuclear fuel packages. One such test involved ramming a 140-ton diesel locomotive into a transportation canister, called a nuclear flask, at 100 miles per hour. The test, according to a recent article published by the online magazine The Drive, was a “smashing” success. Just 0.29 psi of pressure escaped the 50-ton test flask, which had been pressurized to 100 psi.

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Calling all Casks

A large-scale campaign to move spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States to a central repository or interim storage site does not appear to be coming anytime soon. External pressures, however, including a growing number of nuclear power plant closures and increased stakeholder demand to remove stranded spent fuel and HLW, are shifting focus to building the infrastructure needed to move large volumes of waste. This includes the design and manufacture of shielded transportation casks for shipping the waste by truck or rail.

Feature Article

Preparing for Nuclear Waste Transportation

The U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board (NWTRB or Board) recently completed an evaluation of Department of Energy activities related to transporting spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste. These topics have been the subject of several Board meetings and associated reports, and in September 2019, the Board issued a report, Preparing for Nuclear Waste Transportation–Technical Issues That Need to Be Addressed in Preparing for a Nationwide Effort to Transport Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste [1], which focuses on the issues DOE will need to address to plan and implement an integrated transportation program. In its report, the Board describes 30 broad technical issues that DOE needs to address and offers three sets of findings and recommendations.