China Planning Nuclear Naval Vessels

China hopes to miniaturize its marine nuclear reactor to put inside submarines, according to government news reports, but it also hopes to use the smaller power plants on reusable rockets that would propel its future space exploration needs. (Getty)

 

(TruNews) According to a report carried by Chinese state-run media, the government’s shored-based nuclear reactors being built in a South China Sea are the prelude to development of naval nuclear reactors—and possibly more.

The government’s English-language news outlet, Global Times, reported that China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation will soon begin construction on marine nuclear power platforms designed to supply power for the country’s offshore oil drilling platforms and islands. But the report states the platforms have two modes—floating and submersible—and that when successfully reduced in size, could be later applied to the country’s military vessels, including nuclear-powered aircraft carriers or next generation nuclear submarines.

Nuclear-powered military vessels can operate over larger areas and for longer periods of time without constant refueling. In submarines, nuclear propulsion makes the vessels much quieter, and more deadly for adversaries.

But, that’s not the ultimate goal of the Chinese nuclear power program in the South China Sea.

In a separate article, Global Times reports China plans to use its miniaturized nuclear reactors to power its own space shuttles based on the Long March rocket series. The carrier rockets would be reusable and in operation by 2040.

Quoting from a China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation report, the Global Times article adds:

By 2045, the means to get in and out of space as well as space transportation will see radical transformations, making it possible to build a space ladder, Earth station and space post, as well as regularly explore the solar system on a large scale with coordination between humans and machines, the report added.

The report also said that the Long March-8 carrier rocket is expected to be launched in 2020, with the Long March series providing commercial launch services for other countries.

Around 2025, reusable suborbital carriers will be successfully developed and suborbital space travel will come true, it said.

Around 2030, heavy carrier rockets will be launched to provide support to manned lunar landing missions and sufficient transportation power for samples from Mars.

And around 2035, carrier rockets will be completely reusable and the future generation of intelligent carrier rockets with advanced power will be launched, the report said.

The shuttle carrier rockets would remain in Earth’s orbit, limiting the potential for radioactive contamination, according to the Global Times.

Full article: China Planning Nuclear Naval Vessels (TruNews)

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