In January, Xu Dazhe, the director of the China Atomic Energy Authority, told reporters in Beijing that China was planning to develop offshore floating nuclear energy plants, saying they “must undergo a rigorous, scientific evaluation,” but also linking these to China’s desire to become a “maritime power.”
Mr. Xu said at the time that developing China’s nuclear power-generating capacity was part of the country’s five-year economic development plan, which runs through 2020. China has more civilian nuclear power stations under construction than any other country.
Chinese state media said that Beijing plans to build as many as 20 floating nuclear power plants to supply power to remote locations.
That could include offshore oil drilling rigs and the sparsely inhabited islands that China has spent the past two years building up and steadily turning into military outposts.
“The Chinese have been operating nuclear-powered submarines for a number of years. It’s not a big leap” to modify those power plants into electricity generators, said Rod Adams, who served as the engineer officer on a US nuclear sub and now publishes Atomic Insights, an industry reference.
He said there are “few insurmountable challenges” to deploying those reactors by 2020.
China to develop 20 floating nuclear power plants https://t.co/SQGG1lEQDF pic.twitter.com/xmsc2bzm71
— CCTV America (@CCTV_America) April 22, 2016
#China plans to build 20 floating #nuclear power stations to boost maritime construction https://t.co/htQilcXeJV pic.twitter.com/YZ7fO5oX5g
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) April 21, 2016
SOURCES – Twitter, Stuff New Zealand, New York Times