Samsung Completes Conceptual Design of Molten Salt Nuclear Power Barge

Molten Salt nuclear power barge
Conceptual designs are complete for a power barge using Nuclear Molten Salt technologies (Seaborg)

Published Jan 4, 2023 3:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts to develop a floating power barge using Compact Molten Salt Reactor technology are proceeding with Samsung Heavy Industries and its partner Denmark’s Seaborg Technologies reporting they have completed conceptual designs for the barge. ABS has reviewed the designs and awarded Approval in Principle as the project continues to target 2028 for the commercial introduction of the power barge.

The companies revealed their concept for a floating nuclear power plant that comes as a turn-key product, ready to be moored in an industrial harbor in April 2022. The CMSR Power Barge the companies said would be a new concept power generation facility that supplies electricity and thermal energy produced by using compact molten salt reactor technology. CMSR is being promoted as a safer, self-contained nuclear technology where in the case of an emergency the radiation is contained as the salt hardens.  

Samsung says the CMSR Power Barge would be a fusion of nuclear power and shipbuilding technology. They believe it will have fewer constraints for site selection and facility conditions. Among the advantages are that it would only require about two years to build and costs less than alternate power technologies.

The CMSR Power Barge would be a self-contained “nuclear power plant on the sea” with steam turbine generators and transmission/distribution facilities. According to the preliminary designs, it can be equipped with two to eight 100MW CMSRs in accordance with the demand for power production.  

Samsung expects to expand demand for the CMSR Power Barge not only as an alternative for existing fossil fuel power generation facilities, but also as an electricity and thermal energy source for industrial heating systems, hydrogen production, and seawater desalination facilities. They point out it could be easily used to bring power into remote areas with minimal onshore infrastructure requirements to connect the barge to the onshore power grid.

Among the other deployment opportunities, Seaborg suggests the possibility to place a hydrogen or ammonia production plant next to the nuclear power barge utilizing the CO2-free fission energy from the barge to produce hydrogen and ammonia. Once outfitted they project a 24-year lifespan for the barge. Seaborg is doing business activities for developing countries that lack constant electricity.

The power barge concept has also won support from the European Union, which in June 2022 awarded the project a grant as part of the first European Innovation Council Accelerator program. A total of 74 companies including Seaborg were selected to receive grants or investments of up to €17.5 million ($18.5 million). The program seeks to identify, develop, and scale up breakthrough technologies and game-changing innovations across all EU Member States. The EIC Accelerator provides financial support and business acceleration services to companies.

Samsung said it is continuing to develop technologies for floating nuclear power plants. Having completed the conceptual designs and receiving the AiP, the companies are working to complete detailed designs for all the power generation facilities.