The Case for a U.S. Nuclear Powered Commercial Shipping Fleet

GMA 460L - Senior Seminar Research Lab

The IMO will be introducing new regulations in 2020 that will require ships to reduce emissions of certain greenhouse gases and combat climate change. A promising yet radical alternative to fossil fuels and other renewable energy is the use of nuclear-powered reactors in container ships and bulk carriers. Used by the U.S. Navy and other nuclear powered countries around the world, nuclear energy is an emission free energy source which provides sufficient power for shipping needs and is economically competitive with conventional shipping methods. The U.S. has the capital, technology, and other resources needed to develop a nuclear powered merchant shipping fleet. Though federal and international constraints will need to be resolved to achieve this bold idea, it is time for the U.S. to take the lead as a maritime nation for international shipping standards.