China will prioritize the development of a floating nuclear power platform in the next five years, according to China Daily.
The move is an effort to provide stable power for offshore projects. The news was announced by Wang Yiren, vice director of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense who also highlighted potential application in the South China Sea providing power for the Nansha (Spratley) and Xisha (Paracel) Islands.
Last year, the China Securities Journal said 20 offshore nuclear platforms could eventually be built in the region. “China's first floating nuclear reactor will be assembled by the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation's (CSIC) subsidiary, Bohai Heavy Industry, and the company will build 20 such reactors in the future,” the newspaper said.
Research has already been carried out on the core technologies required.
Wang says that China is seeking cooperation with Russia to hasten development. Russia’s nuclear agency Russia is developing floating nuclear power plants that are destined for Arctic waters. Russian company Rosenergoatom (part of Rosatom) launched the project in 2006, and the first such plant, the non-self-propelled Akademik Lomonosov, has been built at the Sevmash Shipyard. The 70MW plant is expected to be moored at Pevek on the Chukchi Peninsula in 2017 and operational by 2019.
The 144-meter (472-foot) vessel produces enough power for a town with a population of 200,000. It can be used as a desalination plant and has an expected operational life of 40 years.
Some experts believe that the development of nuclear power will constitute an important component of China's future energy sector, as the average global proportion of electricity generated by nuclear power is 11 percent, while the number for China is only three percent, reports China Daily.
The Chinese government has drawn on lessons learned from the Fukushima accident in 2011 and introduced a full range of nuclear emergency precautions, including the publication of a nuclear safety white paper in January 2016.