China has included the construction of floating nuclear power plants into its 13th Five-Year Plan, and appropriated funds for the scientific research of the project, according to Chinese media reports today citing a government official.
The China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, one of the two largest shipbuilding conglomerates in the country, was previously reported to serve as one of the entities taking in charge of the project management.
Together with relevant government entities, the project has recruited experts to consider how to set up such offshore nuclear power plants, as well as pick a location for the manufacturing and assembly of the ship.
The first offshore nuclear power plant platforms will cost around RMB3 billion (US$437 million) and be completed before the end of 2018, according to previous media reports. It will be put to use in 2019, while China plans to build as many as 20 such platforms initially used for oil and natural gas exploration.
China previously considered two different formats for building offshore nuclear power plants: a floating plant and a submarine-type plant. Today's reports points to the floating plant being included in China's five-year plan.
The country is seeking to accelerate research and development through cooperation with Russia and other countries, to potentially lower the high cost of building offshore nuclear power stations on the sea.
Russia was near completion of the world's first floating nuclear power plant at the end of 2016. The plant will supply power to the Russian coast and offshore oil and gas platforms starting in 2019.