China is near to completing its first offshore nuclear reactor, reports Reuters, citing engineers involved in the project.
One of the aims of China is that the offshore reactors will provide reliable electricity to oil and gas rigs and to the remote, and sometimes disputed, South China Sea islands.
China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) engineer Zhang Nailiang, said that the technology was “mature” and the first demonstration project would be deployed soon at drilling platforms in northern China’s Bohai Sea.
The demonstration project is being developed by a research team established by CSIC, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and two reactor builders, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China General Nuclear Power (CGN). The direct use of military technology had helped accelerate progress, Zhang said.
The strengthening of China’s maritime presence was emphasized by President Xi Jinping during his recent Communist Party Congress address.
Concerns have been raised about offshore nuclear reactors, in particular their remoteness, which could cause logistical problems. There was also concern that offshore nuclear power could lead to the militarization of disputed waters