Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationBoats & Boating · 4 months ago

What makes nuclear ships so cost ineffective? You don't need to spend so much money refueling unlike diesel ships?

For diesel ships, you need to spend hundreds of thousands of $ each trip refuelling the giant tanks. Nuclear ships may be way more expensive to build, but you don't need to refuel for another 20+ years after that. Wouldn't they eventually be cheaper after only a few years by not needing to spend hundreds of thousands of $ after each trip?

4 Answers

  • 4 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Up until a couple months ago they were going to be cheaper soon- since ultra low sulfur diesel is required. Now, with reduced shipping diesel is cheaper again. It's the low number of nuclear engineers that is expensive- they can demand high pay, plus insurance rates are higher.

  • 4 months ago

    Most ports will not allow them to dock. I did a tour of a nuclear ship (Savannah) back in 1964, and noticed that most of the internal space was taken up with the power plant, certainly much more than a marine diesel would need.

  • 4 months ago

    Nuclear ships do have a refueling cycle and it is not twenty years. I am not sure of the cost of new fuel rods, but they are not cheap. Then there is the issue of disposal of control rods. Heat exchangers have proven difficult to manufacture in a way that will allow operation for extended periods of time. There are thousands of issues that you have not addressed which drive operation costs up. There are also increased liabilities which affect insurance costs. Insurance costs for a ship is not cheap.

  • 4 months ago

    Nuclear power plants are dozens if not hundreds of times more expensive to build and install.  The training and maintenance is not much less than diesel or diesel electric for ships and subs.

    SS Savannah was first commercial ship with a nuke plant.  No more were built.  Must be a reason for that.

Still have questions? Get answers by asking now.