What Could Go Wrong? China Builds A Floating Nuclear Power Plant

Back in August, a horrific explosion at a chemical storage facility in the Chinese port of Tianjin killed more than a hundred people and dispersed an unknown amount of toxic sodium cyanide into the air and water.

Despite officials’ best efforts to play down the environmental impact, a series of “unexplained” events occurred in the days and weeks following the tragedy including a massive fish die-off and the appearance of an eerie white foam on the streets following a thunderstorm.

Beijing promised a thorough investigation and unsurprisingly, there were questions as to the warehouse’s owners had ties to the Party and if so, whether those ties helped to explain why the amount of sodium cyanide in storage was orders of magnitude greater than what’s allowed by law.

The blast itself was described by some as akin to a nuclear explosion and indeed, the footage backs up that assessment:

Well don’t look now, but China is set to take it up a notch when it comes to creating the conditions for a "nuclear" disaster because as World Nuclear News reports, Beijing is now all set to build a portable, floating nuclear reactor. Here’s more:

China General Nuclear (CGN) expects to complete construction of a demonstration small modular offshore multi-purpose reactor by 2020, the company announced.


The 200 MWt (60 MWe) reactor has been developed for the supply of electricity, heat and desalination and could be used on islands or in coastal areas, or for offshore oil and gas exploration, according to CGN.


CGN said the development of small-scale offshore and onshore nuclear power reactors will complement its large-scale plants and provide more diverse energy options.

The only floating nuclear power plant today is the Akademik Lomonosov, under construction in Russia, where two 35 MWe reactors similar to those used to propel ships are being mounted on a barge to be moored at a harbour. The Baltiysky Zavod in St Petersburg is on schedule to deliver the first floating nuclear power plant to its customer, Russian nuclear power plant operator Rosenergoatom, in September 2016. It could start operating in Chukotka as early as in 2017.

Here's an artists' impression of what this disaster-waiting-to-happen will look like once complete:

Of course CGN is an SOE which means if and when something does go horribly wrong, there will be no transparency and no accountability whatsoever. 

Check back in 2021 to find out what happens when a nuclear reactor melts down in the middle of the ocean.

Until then, we'll leave you with one final quote from CGN - make a mental note of the bolded passage:

Floating plants offer various advantages: construction in a factory or shipyard should bring efficiencies; siting is simplified; environmental impact is extremely low; and decommissioning can take place at a specialised facility.