There is increasing activity towards the advent of commercial nuclear propulsion, focusing on the molten salt reactor (MSR) instead of the pressurised water reactor (PWR).

There are advantages of MSRs over PWRs, lower pressure, higher temperature, primary pump flow rate control, less risk of meltdown but the training of PWR operators gives some insight into what may be required for MSRs. This has been broadly divided between the theoretical and the practical.

The theoretical has generally taken place by way of post graduate academic study of nuclear physics for officers and similar courses for senior ratings. Whilst the MSR differs from the PWR, presumably such theoretical nuclear physics education will have to be provided. For example, will operators need a thorough understanding of molten salt treatment similar to that required for reactor water chemistry in a PWR?

Whilst the theoretical study will most likely be a one off, simulator training should continue ashore for as long as the watchkeepers are employed. This is particularly important given the potential monotony of watchkeeping when the vessel is on passage at a steady speed with very little happening. The unexpected will occur and watchkeepers have to react instantly and correctly. Emergency operating procedures have to be second nature.

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