Nuclear propulsion for Civilian Ships – the impact of fuel regulation

An article in the Financial Times (Dec 5, 2010) describes how planned regulation of the fuel emissions by commercial ships – is expected to increase fuel costs by 50 % in 2012 due to the level of sulphur content in their fuel.  The result – an increased interest in nuclear propulsion for commercial ships.  Will the shift to nuclear propulsion to contend with fuel costs increase the risks associated with commercial cargo ? Or is this an expected trend – environmental emissions reduction may well increase the reliance on nuclear solutions ?

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1 Response to Nuclear propulsion for Civilian Ships – the impact of fuel regulation

  1. Ernest Choi says:

    Nuclear propulsion in the commercial shipping industry is a natural and expected trend to combat the increase in fuel costs. By no means am I a nuclear expert, but the studies and articles that I have read show nuclear power’s benefits far outweigh its cons:

    1.) “Nuclear power is the only technology that can replace carbon emissions entirely,”
    2.) Nuclear power is readily available and the least expensive form of power generation. Fossil fuels are NOT sustainable.
    3.) Lowest impact on the environment.
    4.) Viable option until a different form of power becomes more preferable.
    5.) 50% increase in fuel costs could destroy shipping organizations and would negatively effect the global economy.

    Of course the biggest concern surrounding nuclear power is safety. In specific, meltdowns, radiation, and waste disposal. But due to technological advances, the risks associated in transitioning to nuclear power will be minimized. This is proven by last the accident occurring in 1986, the Chernobyl disaster. The more obvious concern is national security. How easy would it be for a nation to turn a nuclear energy program into a nuclear weapons program? Or what is the potential threat that ships that generate nuclear energy become targets of terrorists?

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