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    China suspends plans to build floating NPP after Nord Stream explosions - newspaper

    May 31, 2023 - ITAR-TASS


      HONG KONG / Xianggang/, May 31. /TASS/. China decided to postpone the project to deploy a floating nuclear power plant in the South China Sea after the sabotage of the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. As the South China Morning Post newspaper reports, Chinese regulators fear a possible sabotage operation against nuclear power plants by the United States.

      As the newspaper notes, Chinese scientists have been developing a floating nuclear power plant for more than 10 years to be located in the South China Sea: the project is completely ready, but has not received approval from the authorities.

      "A Beijing-based researcher on marine environment engineering, who was not involved in the project but has taken part in the evaluation of large-scale infrastructure projects, said that the bombing of Russia's Nord Stream pipelines could have also been seen by the Chinese government as a warning," the newspaper notes.

      As the researcher pointed out, no country or organization has claimed responsibility for sabotage on gas pipelines, however, "there is a popular belief that the United States is behind this". "Attacking the core infrastructure of a permanent member of the UN Security Council was regarded as taboo before. Not any more," the researcher said.

      According to him, the South China Morning Post writes, fears are growing in Beijing that the United States could attack Chinese infrastructure in the South China Sea, and the sinking of a floating nuclear power plant could lead to a much greater disaster than explosions at Nord Stream. He stressed that the release of radioactive substances would pose a serious threat to the region and pose a risk of contaminating marine resources. "Losing such a facility would be a significant financial blow for Beijing," the newspaper says.

      The researcher noted that an attack on a land-based nuclear power plant would be viewed by Beijing and the international community as a declaration of war. However, in the event of a covert attack on a floating nuclear power plant located on the high seas, it will be difficult to pin the blame on any specific party, the source stressed.

      NPP protection

      As the South China Morning Post notes, "protecting a floating nuclear power plant from "underwater divers, vessels, floating objects or airborne objects", would require a comprehensive ship security system". The newspaper points out that the deployment of military vessels to protect the floating platforms could raise tensions with neighboring countries.

      About project

      China has been developing a project of a floating nuclear power plant for about 10 years, which should provide electricity to civilian and military facilities at the Paracel Islands and Spratly island in the South China Sea. The work on the project was carried out by China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation. According to the publication, the project is completely ready to start construction, but it has not yet received the approval of the authorities.

      According to initial estimates, building a floating power plant and towing it into the South China Sea will require less time and resources than building a land-based nuclear power plant on one of the archipelagos. In addition, the location of the reactor on a floating platform makes its operation more protected from seismic activity. --0--art


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