TENSIONS in the South China Sea are set to become nuclear after Beijing unveiled secret plans to float an atomic reactor to the hotly-contested region hidden inside a shipping container.
A nuclear plant is under development in China that would be the world’s smallest – capable of fitting inside a small steel box.
Experts say the technology – dubbed the “portable nuclear battery pack” – could be ready within five years.
At just 6.1 metres long and 2.6 metres high, the lead-cooled reactor could generate around 10 megawatts of power, enough to power 50,000 homes.
Well-suited to the maritime environment of the South China Sea, the reactor is capable of desalinating large quantities of seawater to be used in the plant.
However, critics warn that hosting a nuclear reactor at sea would make it vulnerable to catastrophic environmental disasters, including leaks into the ocean which would then spread around the world.
A marine environment researcher at the Ocean University of China told the South China Morning Post: “Many fish and marine creatures will not be able to deal with the dramatic change of environment caused by massive desalination and the rise of sea temperatures caused by a nuclear reactor.
“If a nuclear disaster happened in the South China Sea, it would not have an immediate effect on people living on the mainland owing to it being a great distance away.
“But the radioactive waste would enter the bodies of fish and other marine creatures and likely end up on our dining tables.
“Sea currents could also carry the waste to distant shores.”
Full article: China going NUCLEAR in disputed sea: Atomic reactor to be hidden inside SHIPPING CONTAINER (Express)