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China eyes floating nuclear power plants for remote locations

The vessels will provide electricity for oil rigs, construction projects and more.
Billy Steele
April 22, 2016
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DigitalGlobe via Getty Images

It's difficult to provide power to offshore projects like oil rigs and a recently built island chain in the South China Sea. However, China has a solution: floating nuclear power plants. According to the state-run newspaper Global Times, the vessels are being developed with the goal of providing electricity to offshore construction projects, even in remote locations. China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, a state-run company, is working to build an entire fleet of the floating power plants citing strong demand for the ships.

Of course, this isn't the first time nuclear power has taken to the seas. Nuclear-powered ships have been around for decades, and back in the 1960s, the US put a nuclear reactor inside an old World War II ship to provide electricity to the Panama Canal Zone. Safety regulations are still in the works for China's proposed power plants, which will need to be fast enough to move out of the path of a typhoon should the need arise. A rendering posted by Global Times' parent company People's Daily shows a potential design floating power plants that looks like a combination of a freighter and a cruse ship.

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