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Construction of China’s first floating nuclear reactor widely watched

By Li Yan (People's Daily Online)    16:35, November 03, 2017

The construction of China’s first floating nuclear reactor is being widely watched by the outside world, even though industry authorities have yet to confirm whether the construction has moved into the final stage.

Reuters reported on Oct. 31 that China’s first offshore nuclear reactor is set to be completed soon, citing an engineer with the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC) that “the direct use of military technology has aided progress.”

Floating nuclear reactors are important because they are useful and highly flexible, an industry insider, who asked to remain anonymous, explained.

The reactors create safe and efficient resources such as electricity and heat for crude oil and natural gas exploitation. Once a project is complete, the facilities can be easily transported elsewhere, the insider says.

In 2015, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic planner, approved the state-controlled China General Nuclear Power Group (CGNP)’s ACPR50S project, together with plans for China National Nuclear Corp’s ACP100S floating reactor.

The two reactors are among the world’s major light water reactors that are built with the most mature technologies, according to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Earlier CGNP said its affiliated research institutions had finished preliminary design of the ACPR50S and made breakthroughs in key technologies related to the reactor. Xu Bin, deputy chief designer of the ACP100, said the reactor is safe and flexible and can be widely used.

Industry insiders warn that there is no guideline about which department should supervise floating facilities and a complete industry chain should be established. Meanwhile, the economic value of the floating reactors should be examined in order to inject confidence into investors, they added.

China absolutely needs to develop marine sources on its waters, and the country upholds the principle of peaceful use of nuclear power, said a former official of the China Atomic Energy Authority in 2016.

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