China is planning to build a floating nuclear power station as it attempts to double its its atomic capacity by 2020, a senior Chinese official said Wednesday.
Authorities are making plans for a “marine floating power station,” which will go through “strict and scientific demonstration,” said Xu Dazhe, chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority.
“China is devoted to building itself into a maritime power, and so we will definitely make full use of ocean resources,” he said on a press conference.
The use of nuclear power at sea is often used by aircraft carriers and missile submarines — but doing it for civilian purposes has never happened before, although Russia is reportedly already have one under construction.
Beijing included the development of two marine nuclear power plants, to be built by China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC), in its 13th five-year plan for 2016 to 2020, the two companies announced this month.
One will be operational in 2019 and the other is in the following year, according to their statements.
Both firms said that they could provide power for offshore oil- and gas-drilling platforms, island development and remote areas.
China currently has 30 nuclear reactors in operation, with a capacity of 28.3 gigawatts, Xu said. Another 24 reactors capable of generating 26.7 gigawatts are under construction, Xu added.
It aims to increase its installed atomic power capacity to 58 gigawatts by 2020, when another 30 gigawatts of capacity is scheduled to be under construction, China has said.
Approvals of creating new plants were suspended by China following the Fukushima nuclear disaster after Japan was struck by a tsunami in March 2011.
But resumed approvals in 2012 despite warnings from environmental ministry.
Authorities last year gave eight new reactors the green light and that the country is “on course” to achieve its 2020 target, said Xu. -John Esconde