China is planning to build about 20 floating reactor platforms to meet the demand of maritime atomic propulsion, driving a market that could be worth tens of billions of dollars, a report said on Thursday.
The country’s first-ever floating nuclear plant is about to start the final assembly in Huludao, a coastal city in Liaoning province, and it will be built by Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co Ltd, a unit of China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, according to E-worldship, a Shanghai-based maritime industry information provider.
“CSIC is the first company with the permission to construct the floating nuclear-powered vessel, and it aims to become the strongest builder of floating nuclear platforms within five years,” the report quoted Wu Zhong, general manager of CSIC Asset Management Co Ltd, as saying during an expert review held this week.
Zhu Hanchao, deputy chief engineer of the CSIC 719 Research Institute, said that the average cost of a pilot project is about 3 billion yuan ($463 million), but it will be able to generate sales of 22.6 billion yuan ($3.47 billion) in 40 years, the life span of the vessel. He said that the cost could go lower as the company realizes mass production of such platforms.
The CSIC 719 was established in 2014 to develop a maritime nuclear power platform and core technologies in the field.
At the end of last year, the shipbuilder got the nod from the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic regulator, to start research for a demonstration project of the platform.
Earlier this year, China General Nuclear Power Group signed a strategic cooperation agreement with CSIC to develop a reactor design－200-megawatt ACPR50S for the offshore nuclear power platform.
CGN is currently working on the preliminary design for ACPR50S, which is expected to start construction in 2017 and be commissioned by 2020.
The floating nuclear power plant, which can be equipped inside a section of the vessel, is often used to supply stable electricity not only to remote areas, but also to large industrial facilities such as seawater desalination plants and offshore oilfield exploration rigs, CGN said.
“The project has a wide range of civilian applications in providing safe and stable energy for maritime resources exploration and development,” CGN said.
The offshore oil drilling demand will keep growing in the next five years with a market value of 100 billion yuan ($15.4 billion), while the industry of nuclear-powered equipment is expected to reach 50 billion yuan per year ($7.7 billion) in the Bohai Bay, Wu Zhong said.
Story by China Daily