Published 2022-04-28 00:00:00
Ulstein Proposes Molten Salt Reactor Ship

Ulstein has launched 'ULSTEIN THOR', a 149m 3R (Replenishment, Research and Rescue) design which will feature a Thorium Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) to generate vast amounts of clean, safe electricity. This enables the vessel to operate as a mobile power/charging station for a new breed of battery driven cruise ships.
The vessel concept is capable of making the vision of zero-emission cruise operations a reality. Ulstein believes the concept, hereafter referred to as ‘Thor’, may be the missing piece of the zero emissions puzzle for a broad range of maritime and ocean industry applications. To demonstrate its feasibility, Ulstein has also developed the ULSTEIN SIF concept, a 100m long, 160 POB capacity, zero-emission expedition cruise ship. This Ice Class 1C vessel will run on next-generation batteries, utilising ‘Thor’ to recharge while at sea.
The MSR concept works by dissolving Thorium, an abundant, naturally occurring metal with low radioactivity, in liquid salt. The ensuing chain reaction heats the salt, producing steam to drive a turbine and create electricity. In the advent of a failure in the reactor, the concept is that the Thorium would become encased in the cooled salt preventing the spread of radiation.
Ulstein developed Thor’s charging capacity scaled to simultaneously satisfy the power needs of four expedition cruise ships. They said the design would enable replenishment of energy and supplies on site, while also boasting the technology to facilitate rescue operations, as well as conducting research tasks.

To demonstrate its feasibility, Ulstein also developed the Ulstein Sif concept, a 328-foot, zero-emission expedition cruise ship. The Ice Class 1C vessel would run on next-generation batteries, utilizing Thor to recharge while at sea. The designs for both Thor and Sif feature Ulstein’s X-Bow design, created for greater operability, comfort, operational functionality, and fuel efficiency. Thor also features helicopter pads, firefighting equipment, rescue booms, workboats, autonomous surface vehicles, and airborne drones, cranes, as well as laboratories and a lecture lounge. The expedition cruise vessel Sif would accommodate up to 80 passengers and 80 crew, offering silent, zero-emission expedition cruises to remote areas, including Arctic and Antarctic waters.


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