HD Hyundai Joins Nuclear Power Firms to Launch Advocacy Group in London

A testbed installation for a compact nuclear reactor (Terrapower)

Published Mar 12, 2024 9:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

South Korean shipbuilder HD Hyundai takes decarbonization seriously, and in its latest move, it has signed up with 11 nuclear-energy companies to start a new advocacy organization on the west side of London, about half an hour's drive from IMO headquarters.

The newly-formed Nuclear Energy Maritime Organization (NEMO) counts many of the leading players in the field among its members. Prominent names include Lloyd's Register, U.S. reactor developer Terrapower, nuclear plant giant Westinghouse and Danish reactor startup Seaborg. The organization's first chairman will be Mamdouh el-Shanawany, former head of safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 

NEMO's role will be to help guide the rules and standards for using nuclear power in civilian maritime service. Though nuclear plants have been installed in merchant ships and maritime facilities before, market uptake has historically been limited by cost and public-acceptance factors; a new generation of smaller, simpler and safer reactor designs could change the equation and make onboard nuclear power a more viable option. NEMO wants to facilitate that change, not just for seagoing ships but for nuclear installations offshore, in seaports and in coastal waters.  

"We are very excited about the launch of NEMO as it can serve as a cornerstone to advance the era of offshore nuclear power,” said el-Shanawany in a statement. 

Early priorities include a review of the IMO Safety Code for Nuclear Merchant Ships, which NEMO would like to revisit to ensure that it stays relevant to modern technology. The organization also wants to foster closer ties between IMO and IAEA. 
NEMO also plans to work with IAEA to develop standards for the operation of floating nuclear power plants (FNPPs). The FNPP concept is gaining traction as a means of incorporating modern nuclear power into the energy mix, without the difficulties of shoreside permitting and construction.