11 August 2017
China has announced plans to bolster its maritime nuclear capabilities with the creation of a major new joint venture project, which could also provide the catalyst for the development of floating reactors in the South China Sea and beyond.
Collin Koh, a military expert from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University, said maritime nuclear power plants have a wide range of uses, and their presence would have both symbolic and practical purposes.
As well as producing electricity for Chinese infrastructure in the disputed waters, they could offer a long-term solution to the country’s water supply problems with the provision of desalination facilities, and support China’s status as a maritime power, he said.
Such facilities will also enable China’s military to take a step closer to developing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, he added.
“China sees securing the ability to develop marine nuclear tech as a manifestation of its maritime power status,” Koh said. “It will enhance Beijing’s staying power and assert its claims, as military garrisons and civilian personnel living on those remote outposts would be able to sustain themselves better [and therefore stay longer].”
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 17/08/2017