Nuclear Power Could be the Future of Expedition Cruising

A new ship design concept from Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein could be the first step towards zero-emissions for expeditions cruises: a 500-foot-long vessel named Thor a reference to both the Norse god of thunder and the element thorium, which would power its on-board nuclear reactor.

A ship powered by nuclear energy could create its own supply of electricity and even power a companion vessel to explore the seas with minimal environmental impact, reports CNN.

Thor would use a molten salt reactor, billed as a “potentially safer” alternative to traditional nuclear reactors as it operates at a much lower pressure and has a safety net which reportedly makes meltdowns impossible. Molten salt reactors have reportedly gained interest in recent years and development is underway for modern versions in Canada, the U.S., China, and Denmark, but CNN says it will be “many years” before they can be commercialized or installed onto ships.

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