One of the main concerns is that floating nuclear power plants could face security threats not only from sea and air, but also through submarine attacks.
The Chinese authorities have suspended the start of construction of the country’s first floating nuclear power plant in the South China Sea, despite everything being ready to start, due to security concerns, reports the South China Morning Post.
The decision leaves with an uncertain future the ambitious plan, begun 10 years ago, to have a fleet of nuclear power reactors to generate electricity for critical marine infrastructure, part of it on remote islands in the South China Sea.
“Safety and viability continue to be the main concerns of the regulatory authorities,” said the team of engineers in charge of the construction, in an article published on May 25 in the specialized magazine Nuclear Power Engineering.
The national regulator’s decision surprised scientists, as floating nuclear power reactors are normally considered safer than those on land.
According to the team, led by Wang Donghui of the National Technology Research Center for Offshore Nuclear Power Platforms, floating plants offer more advantages for governments and the general public because, being located at sea, they are less vulnerable than conventional ones. ground facilities to earthquakes and other cataclysms.
“The ocean acts as a natural heat sink, helping to cool the reactor core and making it inherently safer. In the event of an extreme accident, seawater can be used as an emergency coolant to prevent core meltdown and guarantee the safety of the reactor,” the team said in the aforementioned article.
However, one of the main concerns is that floating nuclear power plants could face security threats not only from sea and air, but also through submarine attacks. The plants would also be vulnerable to UAVs, which could fly over and attack them with bombs or other projectiles.
In response to these concerns, Wang’s team has proposed an alternative floating nuclear power plant on a pier to be located near mainland China.