90 Miles From Tyranny : China Deploys Floating Nuclear Power Plant to South China Sea

Monday, April 24, 2017

China Deploys Floating Nuclear Power Plant to South China Sea

  • A nuclear power plant on the sea would ensure a continuous supply of water as coolant -- a necessity for any reactor.
  • China's motive for building the nuclear reactors is clear: to exert its dominance and influence throughout the area.

In April 2016, reports began coming in that China has plans to build floating nuclear power plants in the South China Sea. A floating nuclear power plant consists of one or more nuclear reactors, located on a platform at sea. China apparently plans to "speed up the commercial development" of the South China Sea and views the nuclear power plants as part of that plan. [1]

Final assembly of the reactor is reported to start in coastal city of Huludao, in Liaoning province, and will be built by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co Ltd, a unit of China Shipbuilding Industry Corp (CSIC).[2]

China's 2016 nuclear plan, a component of the China's 13th five-year plan, is evidently to complete 58 nuclear reactors by 2020 and build another 100 gigawatt-sized reactors by 2030. These would make China the largest nuclear power producer in the world. China's floating nuclear reactor initiative seems to be a component of this nuclear plan.

Reasons for such reactors

China's stated reasons for venturing into such technologies include providing an inexpensive source of electricity and fresh water for both military and economic gains, as well as ensuring China's strategic dominance in the South China Sea. Nuclear power plants could not only provide cheap electricity to defense facilities but also to desalination plants. Normally, the defense facilities such as airports and harbors depend on oil or coal for power generation. A nuclear power plant on the sea would ensure a continuous supply of water as coolant -- a necessity for any reactor.

A 60 MWe reactor is said to be beneficial for supplying electricity, heat and desalination, and could be used on islands and on coastal areas or for...

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