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An illustration of Crowley's nuclear power plant ship concept

Illustration courtesy Crowley

Crowley to Develop Nuclear Power Plant Ship Concept

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 4600
September 20, 2023

Crowley has announced a memorandum of understanding with Virginia-based nuclear power company BWX Technologies to develop a ship concept that includes a microreactor for generating zero-carbon emission nuclear power for shoreside applications.

The ship would supply small-scale nuclear energy to shoreside locations, providing power to military bases, backup utility grids, and other situations where traditional electricity sources are not feasible.

The vessel concept combines Crowley’s logistics and marine capabilities with BWXT’s nuclear expertise, aiming to support sustainable energy sources and the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear energy technology goals. The MOU will allow both companies to jointly pursue and develop opportunities relative to the design, engineering and development of new shallow-draft hull ships.

Maritime Industry Explores Nuclear Power for Ships as Technology Opens up

“Our cooperation with BWXT will move Crowley for the first time into the nuclear energy sector, a key part of our commitment to sustainable, alternative energy sources. This concept supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of maintaining U.S. leadership in nuclear energy technology as well as many the U.S. Department of Defense’s strategic goals for operational energy,” said Shiju Zacharia, senior vice president and general manager, Crowley Government Solutions.

The concept vessel, measuring 378 feet, aims to provide high levels of safety and security with in-house vessel design and nuclear components, fuel, and services. The ship will combine traditional propulsion with a modular reactor that can be activated and deactivated as needed. It can deliver power to shore using buoyed power delivery cables and has shallow draft hulls for maneuverability in military activities or during disasters when harbor access is limited.

“We are excited to work alongside Crowley to leverage our ongoing reactor development and demonstration programs, advancing nuclear technology into new and novel markets to deliver zero carbon emissions energy generation to strategic locations,” said Joe Miller, president of BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC.

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