China Plans A Floating Nuclear Power Plant
China is working on a floating nuclear power plant that could sail to specific sites and anchor offshore to produce power for various needs.
China General Nuclear expects to complete construction of this small modular offshore multi-purpose reactor by 2020, and demonstrate its utility for a variety of purposes. Construction of the first floating reactor is expected to start next year with electricity generation to begin in 2020.
China General Nuclear’s ACPR50S reactor design was approved by China’s National Development and Reform Commission. This new type of power plant is part of China’s strategy to develop innovative energy technologies, and is outlined in their 13th Five-Year Plan. Also included in that Plan are more than 100 nuclear power reactors over the next decade.
The Chinese government plans to invest over US$100 billion to construct about seven new reactors annually between now and 2030. By 2050, nuclear power should exceed 350 GW in that country, should include about 400 new nuclear reactors, and should result in over a trillion dollars in nuclear investment.
But unlike the United States, China is experimenting with many types of reactors, this floating design being just one. China’s strategy to be the largest exporter of nuclear energy technology requires high levels of technological diversity so they can capture most of the nuclear market with reactors at all scales and of all types – small modular reactors, fast reactors, molten salt reactors, thorium reactors and large light water reactors.
The smallish 200 MW reactor for this floating plant has been developed to supply of electricity, heat and desalination, and can be used on islands or in coastal areas, to support offshore oil and gas exploration, to provide power for large special industrial parks needing lots of quick base load power, and to provide emergency power in case of a natural disaster.