China announces the world39s first nuclearpowered container ship Olhar Digital

China announces the world's first nuclearpowered container ship Olhar Digital

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China has announced the world's first nuclearpowered container ship, marking a touch of revolution in maritime history. It is called KUN24AP and was unveiled by Jiangnan Shipyard at Marintec China 2023.

At the event, the Chinese makers presented some development perspectives. More in terms of what would really make the nuclear ship special, as no technical details have been revealed yet. Something that could be an important clue is in the name, with the possibility that it is a vessel for 24,000 traditional containers.

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A safer and more efficient ship

Ship representationImage: Reproduction/iMarine

According to its developers, the KUN24AP will feature a stateoftheart propulsion system with a molten salt reactor that uses thorium as fuel. Thorium is a radioactive element that is much more common in nature than uranium and is cheaper to use.

This fuel choice is important because it allows for a higher temperature, lower pressure mode of operation. This helps eliminate the need for large amounts of water for cooling, improving safety and efficiency.

Nuclear and controversial

Ship revealImage: Reproduction/iMarine

China has a long history of thorium technology and is actively developing reactors based on this material. When presenting the plans for the nuclear container ship, the shipyard explained that the interest lies exclusively in the environmental issue and in the most sustainable option for the shipping industry.

When it comes to China, nuclear technology in the West always raises questions about possible military applications. However, the nature of thoriumbased molten salt reactors, which require more frequent maintenance, suggests that their use may be impractical for many military purposes.

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