Rule 5 - Suitability of the reactor installation for on-board service. A nuclear ship without a core is a ship like any other, and is subject to the same rules as a conventional ship. The proposed regulation would introduce a specific program of nuclear testing prior to commissioning, as well as studies during the construction and testing phases to ensure quality and verify that a ship is built in accordance with the requirements. Periodic studies of the nuclear part of a ship would also be carried out during its operational life.
With the increasing attention paid to greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for international air and maritime transport, in particular dirty fuel for the latter, and the excellent safety record of nuclear-powered ships, it is quite conceivable that there will be renewed attention given to marine nuclear powered vessels, interest in marine nuclear propulsion is likely to be renewed. Global merchant shipping is reported to have a total energy capacity of 410 GWt, approximately one third of that of global nuclear power plants. They, Taymyr and Vaygach, were built to meet international safety standards for nuclear craft and were launched in 1989 and 1990, respectively. Jane's Fighting Ships, 1999-2000 edition J Simpson 1995, Nuclear Power from Underseas to Outer Space, American Nuclear SocietyThe Safety of Nuclear Powered Ships, 1992 Report of NZ Special Committee on Nuclear Propulsion Rawool-Sullivan et al 2002, Technical and proliferation-related aspects of the dismantlement of Russian alpha-class submarines, Nonproliferation Review, Spring 2002 Honerlah, H.
Nuclear ships are currently the responsibility of their own countries, but none participate in international trade. Analyses of international treaties and civil law principles confirm that nuclear ship operators would be liable for nuclear damage unless they can demonstrate that the cause of the damage was beyond their control and that the effect could not have been foreseen, prevented or eliminated, or unless it can be prove that it is due to a third party. They will have an S1B nuclear reactor with electric drive (without reduction gears) and pump jet propulsion. Gerald Ford class aircraft carriers have more powerful and simple A1B jets that are reportedly at least 25% more powerful than the A4W, therefore around 700 MWt, but which drive a ship that, apart from steam turbine propulsion, is fully electric, including an aircraft launch system electromagnetic or a catapult.
The United Kingdom has initiated a consultation on proposed regulations for nuclear-powered ships that would allow ships flying the United Kingdom flag to use the power source and international ships to visit its ports. The study indicated that certain routes and loads lent themselves well to the nuclear propulsion option, and that technological advances in the design and manufacture of the reactor had made the option more attractive. The legal framework for nuclear propulsion on ships evolved slowly and unevenly, with an even narrower path for nuclear merchant ships. If civil law statutory limitations are to be applied to nuclear damage, the right to compensation ceases if the claim is not filed within a target period of ten years.
If nuclear ships prove to be economically sustainable or productive, as well as environmentally friendly, they will be used in maritime transport. UNCLOS allowed coastal states to limit the right of innocent passage at sea for nuclear-powered ships and ships carrying nuclear substances or materials or other inherently dangerous or harmful substances or materials. Similarly, after spent fuel, radioactive products, or waste is transferred, the new owner is responsible for any nuclear damage. Special attention should be paid to the designs of the reactor installations, taking into account the special conditions of service on board the ship under normal and exceptional navigational circumstances.
Argentina's Bariloche Atomic Center is considering similar plans for a nuclear-powered TR-1700 submarine. .