China plans to build floating nuclear reactors

China plans to build a series of floating nuclear reactors that will power factories on artificial islands, offshore platforms, and other humanitarian and infrastructure projects in the country.

Such reactors are usually mounted on wide-hull ships and provide about 25% of the power of their larger land-based counterparts. They can be relocated to areas with an urgent supply of energy (such as those affected by a tsunami), or leased to customers looking for a powerful source of electricity.

Modular reactor ACP 100

This $ 150 million project is being developed by the China National Nuclear Power Corporation (CNNP). One such modular plant can power an entire fleet of 20 small reactors.

Floating reactor ACPR50

This project is a competitor to CNNP. In the future, it may include other civilian ships with nuclear installations (for example, icebreakers), but now the project is focused specifically on reactors. ACPR50s are expected to enter service in 2020 with a thermal output of 200 megawatts and an electrical output of 60 megawatts.

Van Yiren, vice director of the National Defense Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry, said the floating reactors will focus on offshore oil and gas platforms and desalination plants located on the outer islands. In addition, the reactors will be able to provide energy to China's subsea mining operations, which are one of the important strategic funding targets within the state.