Bo Johansen: ‘Commercial nuclear technology at sea is less than ten years away’

Bo Johansen

The in-person Singapore Norway Innovation Conference 2022 on 18 November is brimming full, with 220 participants.

One of them is Bo Johansen, the owner and senior managing partner in NBAS-member Viking Engineering PTE LTD.

The marine, offshore, and energy company has been servicing the marine industry in Southeast Asia and Worldwide for over 40 years.

The veteran is looking forward to discussing and exploring new business opportunities at SNIC 2022.  With his permission, we share his reflections below.  Do you agree with Mr. Johansen that commercially viable nuclear technology at sea is less than ten years away?

‘We are looking forward to this upcoming seminar with great interest.

The maritime business is close to our hearts, and Norway has great traditions as a prominent shipping nation.

We at Viking is a Norwegian-Swedish set up; myself being Swedish (but have all my ten years as a seagoing engineer in the iron ore shipping out from Narvik).

We have followed the technical developments from Norway, and cleaner fuels and de-carbonisation are on everybody’s lips nowadays.

I do not fancy the market interest in offshore wind power, which is certainly beneficial to the equipment suppliers and those that build and maintain those offshore wind farms. It is more doubtful whether the investors (probably partly also the taxpayers) will get a decent return on their investments.

Gas (LNG/LPG) is readily available while waiting for the possible development of hydrogen. Yara and Nel are two very interesting companies to listen to for the next step.

Will the seminar stretch out further to mention anything about the future possibility of introducing new nuclear technology at sea?

There is certainly a long way to go, as many obstacles exist. But technology (at least for floating power stations) is less than ten years away.

We notice that Norwegian shipping interests have commenced studying the feasibility of the nuclear concept.

The possible introduction of Small Modular Reactors for marine propulsion means that the steam turbine will make its comeback as propulsion machinery, and this will warm the hearts of us old steam enthusiasts.

We would welcome to be included in any discussions, particularly for the machinery and systems layout downstream of the steam generator (turbines, power generators, propulsion, heat exchangers, feed pumps, etc.).

There is still a long way to go, but certainly time for taking action to get the legislation, statutory rules, and regulations ready in time. Will DNV, NBAS, and Innovation Norway take the lead?

Best regards, and looking forward to the interesting Singapore-Norway seminar on 18th November’

Bo Johansson