China and Russia are said to have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly work on building a floating nuclear power plant in China, a move that could help Beijing speed up its pace of constructing nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.
The deal was signed last week during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to China, the report said, citing the Voice of Russia radio station.
The move is welcome news for the Chinese navy as it can adopt the technologies used for the floating nuclear power plant to build nuclear-powered aircraft carriers even without direct technology transfer from Russia, Vasiliy Kashin, an analyst at Russia’s Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, was quoted as saying.
According to the report, Russia may not be willing to transfer some sensitive technologies, and that the MoU is only for non-military purpose.
Russia is said to be the only country now capable of building a nuclear power plant operating on a vessel on the sea. A facility, Akademik Lomonosov, which is currently under construction in St. Petersburg will be able to provide electricity to meet the needs of 50,000 people.
China is now developing nuclear reactors that will be installed onto its aircraft carriers. However, it will be another thing to build a nuclear reactor for submarines, according to Kashin.
A floating nuclear power plant will be at less risk from natural disasters, and it can be moved to different locations based on the power supply requirements in the regions. So, it can serve as a useful tool for China to cope with various kinds of emergencies.
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