Deal to ad­vance launch of nu­clear ice­break­ers

Coun­try’s con­ven­tional ca­pac­ity still in­suf­fi­cient in po­lar ar­eas in ex­treme weather, ex­perts say

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONGNAN zhongnan@chi­

The co­op­er­a­tion deal signed be­tween China Na­tional Nu­clear Corp and China State Ship­build­ing Corp will add new mo­men­tum to de­vel­op­ing the coun­try’s civil mar­itime nu­clear power tech­nolo­gies, ex­perts said on Wed­nes­day.

Even though they didn’t dis­close the de­tails of the agree­ment, the deal will pushCNNC and CSSC to ac­cel­er­ate the pace of de­vel­op­ing nu­cle­ar­pow­ered ice­break­ers and mar­itime nu­clear power plat­forms, ac­cord­ing to a China Busi­ness News re­port on Tues­day.

The two State-owned com­pa­nies signed a strate­gic co­op­er­a­tion frame­work agree­ment last week to en­hance the in­te­gra­tion of the civil and mil­i­tary in­dus­tries and the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Zhang Luqing, a nu­clear ex­pert at CNNC’s science and tech­nol­ogy com­mis­sion, said their spe­cial­ist struc­tures build­ing nu­clear ice­break­ers were to­tally dif­fer­ent to the tech­niques in­volved in con­struct­ing nu­clear-pow­ered sub­marines and air­craft car­ri­ers.

“China cur­rently only has one diesel-pow­ered ice­breaker — the Ukraine-built Xue­long, or Snow Dragon — but its ice-breaking ca­pac­ity is still in­suf­fi­cient in cer­tain po­lar ar­eas un­der ex­treme weather Zhang.

“The coun­try there­fore needs ad­vanced ves­sels to carry out sci­en­tific re­search in both the Arc­tic and Antarc­tic wa­ters.”

Ea­ger to en­hance its in­no­va­tion abil­i­ties, CNNC an­nounced in 2014 it would work with re­lated par­ties and con­di­tions,” said de­ploy more re­sources to de­velop nu­clear-pow­ered ice­break­ers.

Al­though coun­tries in­clud­ing Rus­sia, Ukraine, Canada and the Nether­lands are ma­jor builders of ice­break­ers, only Rus­sia is ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing nu­clear-pow­ered ice­break­ers, with a fleet size be­tween nine and 10.

An ice­breaker must be equipped with a strength­ened hull, an ice-clear­ing shape, and suf­fi­cient power to push through sea ice, which nor­mal ves­sels don’t pos­sess.

“For a nu­clear-pow­ered ice­breaker, 10 kilo­grams of nu­clear fuel is equal to burn­ing 25,000met­ric tons of stan­dard coal,” said Dong Li­wan, a shipping in­dus­try pro­fes­sor at Shang­hai Mar­itime Univer­sity.

“Pro­duc­ing nu­clear-pow­ered ice­break­ers will not only test a ship­yard’s abil­ity to man­u­fac­ture such a high-end ship, but also pro­vide a test for nu­clear tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies to in­stall all the equip­ment for the ship’s power sys­tem,” said Dong.

Hu Keyi, tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor of Jiang­nan Ship­yard (Group) Co Ltd, a Shang­hai-based CSSC­sub­sidiary, said­com­pet­i­tive bids for the con­struc­tion of China’s sec­ond po­lar re­search ship were ex­pected this year and the new ves­sel would boast stronger ice­break­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

The ship’s es­ti­mated cost is more than 1 bil­lion yuan ($149.93 mil­lion) and the con­struc­tion is ex­pected to take about 24 months.

“China has ex­cess ca­pac­ity in build­ing con­ven­tional ships, but not in com­plex and high value-added ships,” said Hu.

cost for build­ing China’s sec­ond po­lar re­search ship

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