Business / Industries

First nuclear plant to take to the seas

By Lyu Chang (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-26 07:04

First nuclear plant to take to the seas

Visitors look at the stand of China National Nuclear Corp at an industry expo in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Facility in vessel could provide stable power to remote maritime areas

China is getting closer to building its first-ever floating nuclear power station, which will be installed in a vessel and could provide stable electricity to remote waters such as the South China Sea, a leading nuclear engineer said on Monday.

The construction of China's first maritime nuclear power platform is due to be completed by 2018 and be put into operation by 2019.

"It won't take long (to construct) the maritime atomic propulsion project, because the technology is already mature, and we only need to work on the stability when it operates on a floating vessel," Lei Zengguang, chief engineer of China National Nuclear Corp, told China Daily.

Speaking at the sidelines of the 9th International Youth Nuclear Congress in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Lei said the floating nuclear-powered vessels had the potential to be used in future offshore projects but said that the location and number of plants to be built will depend on market demand.

"Normally, we burn oil for power, but the problem with the fuel is that the cost is not only high but sometimes you have to transport it in a long distance," he said.

"Nuclear power, however, is cost-effective and the fuel only needs to be recharged every year-and-a-half," Lei added.

First nuclear plant to take to the seas

Model of floating nuclear power stations display at an expo in Beijing, April 15, 2014. [Photo/VCG]

Nuclear experts said the maritime nuclear power platforms could improve the country's ability to control and speed up commercial development in the South China Sea.

The platforms could secure power supplies in the future for lighthouses, seawater desalination plants, rescue and relief equipment, defense facilities and airports and harbors on islands in the South China Sea, according to Li Jie, a Beijing-based naval expert.

"The nuclear-powered vessels can travel further with more reliable fuel, compared with conventional ships," he said.

Nuclear power plant operator CNNC is currently developing the homegrown ACP100S technology for China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, the vessel maker in charge of designing and assembling the platforms, and China State Shipbuilding Corp.

China General Nuclear Power Corp, another State-owned nuclear giant, is also developing the small ACPR100 reactor with a capacity of 450 megawatts per unit, which can be installed inside a section of the ship, for some remote areas and large industrial clusters, as a supplement to the large-scale land-based nuclear power plants.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks