The floating nuclear power plants could better conserve the environment in areas such as the South China Sea, Chinese experts said after the country recently announced the setting up of a maritime nuclear power company in Shanghai.
Five companies, including the China National Nuclear Power (CNNP) and Shanghai Electric Power, formed the company in Shanghai to build maritime nuclear facilities, according to a CNNP statement released on Thursday.
The Thursday statement said the company fits into the national strategy of building China into a maritime power and the Belt and Road initiatives, and would help promote the civil-military integration of nuclear-powered vessels.
The company will develop, build, operate and manage the maritime nuclear power facilities, and produce and sell electricity, heating and desalination devices.
China is expected to build 20 floating nuclear power stations. The floating power station will be able to provide safe and efficient power to remote islands in the South China Sea, and power desalination, the CNNP wrote in an article published on its WeChat social media account in July 2016.
"The floating nuclear plants could provide the energy requirements of the islands and reefs in the South China Sea," Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow at the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Sunday.
Chen noted that there is no need to read too much into China's program of floating nuclear plants.
"The plants will provide environment protection, weather observation, navigation and oil and gas development," Chen said.
"Also, nuclear power is just one option for the islands and reefs. Wind power and solar energy are also being considered," Chen said.
Wang Yiren, deputy director of the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense and vice chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority, announced in February that China would develop floating nuclear power stations during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), and has assembled experts to study how this would be accomplished.