The civil nuclear industry was not prepared to support the ship. In addition to fuel economy, nuclear-powered ships go approximately 50% faster than oil ships of the same size. For the shipping industry, the increase in the number of operations per year and the increase in profits seem to more than offset the increased operating costs of nuclear energy, according to an analysis by researchers at Penn State. Nuclear marine propulsion is the propulsion of a ship or submarine with heat provided by a nuclear reactor. The power plant heats the water to produce steam for a turbine that is used to turn the ship's propeller through a gearbox or through an electric generator and engine.
Nuclear propulsion is mainly used in naval warships, such as nuclear submarines and supercarriers. A small number of experimental civilian nuclear craft have been built. The advantages of nuclear-powered ships are well known: they don't emit greenhouse gases, they don't depend on the sun or the wind, they can go years without refueling and they can be of great power. But there are other reasons why nuclear-powered ships are a good idea: they will do more than anything else to improve the status, pay and conditions of seafarers.
The main reason why container ships are not nuclear powered is because the civil nuclear industry was not prepared to support them. The cost of building and maintaining a nuclear-powered ship is much higher than that of an oil-powered ship. In addition, there are safety concerns associated with nuclear power plants at sea. Nuclear-powered ships would not be suitable for any rag trader who does vagabond freight, but only for the largest companies, MOL, OOCL, Maersk, which have ships twice the size of Nimitz that go on fixed routes and schedules where any delay generates costs that would exhaust the budget of a small country. Another factor that has prevented container ships from being nuclear powered is the lack of research into nuclear marine propulsion.
Although some small modular reactors (SMR) are similar to marine propulsion reactors in terms of capacity and some design considerations, there has been little research into how these reactors could be used in container ships. Finally, there are political considerations that have prevented container ships from being nuclear powered. The theft of a container ship has not yet been a thing, but it is possible to imagine a scenario in which a nuclear ship is taken to be used as a dirty bomb. It's not just about politics, but about rules that teach how to prevent nuclear units from being sold as scrap. In conclusion, although nuclear-powered ships offer many advantages over oil-powered ships, they are not yet suitable for use in container ships due to their high cost and safety concerns.
In addition, there has been little research into how these reactors could be used in container ships and there are political considerations that have prevented them from being used.