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CSIC fuels deep-sea exploration

By Zhong Nan and Wang Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-24 06:42

CSIC fuels deep-sea exploration

Workers try to put cables onto Jiaolong, China's first manned deep-sea submersible, after the completion of a research program.[Photo/Xinhua

Firm developing maritime nuclear power plant, its submersible to plumb the depths

China has begun to upgrade the design of its first-ever floating nuclear demonstration platform and is nearly finishing the building of a new manned submersible capable of reaching the majority of seabeds in the world, said China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, the primary contractor for the country's navy.

A floating nuclear platform is a maritime nuclear power station. The technology can be installed in vessels and provide a stable source of electricity to oil rigs or remote areas such as the South China Sea. It can also provide power to offshore engineering ships, desalination ships or projects.

"This technology can be applied in the development of nuclear powered icebreakers, nuclear-powered research ships for polar region and other high-power marine engineering projects in the long-term," said Wang Junli, a senior specialist at CSIC's technology and information department.

The construction of China's first maritime nuclear power plant is scheduled to be completed by 2018, and it is due to become operational in 2019, according to earlier information last year by China National Nuclear Corp, CSIC's partner in this project.

Eager to enhance its earning ability, China National Nuclear Corp also signed a cooperation agreement with State-owned China State Shipbuilding Corp, a domestic rival of CSIC, to develop a similar equipment last week.

In another key project, Shao Kaiwen, deputy general manager of CSIC, said developing deep-sea manned submersibles for rough seas would be one of the group's priorities in 2017, with the assembly work and shakedown tests for the vessel are due to be completed by the end of this year.

The project is dominated by the group's 702 research institute that led the development of Jiaolong, China's first manned deep-sea submersible, capable of diving to 7,062 meters deep in the ocean.

While Jiaolong is able to carry out research and exploration missions in 99.8 percent of the world's seabed areas, CSIC is now building up a new manned submersible that can reach a depth of 4,500 meters. The vessel is now under final assembly and testing phase. The submersible will be equipped with five observation windows and three seats.

Compared with Jiaolong, the new vessels boasts wider commercial usage and lower cost, according to CSIC.

Meanwhile, a CSIC shipyard is building a mothership, with a displacement of around 4,000 tons, for Jiaolong. The vessel is expected to be put into service in March 2019.

"We have also made breakthroughs in big-ticket projects such as the installation and operation of a high-efficiency liquefied natural gas gasifier engineering project, and a measurement system for nuclear reactors with a capacity in excess of 1 million kilowatts, as well as a number of electric propulsion products and chemical cells," said Shao.

An Binfeng, deputy director of CSIC's business operation department, said that, as it is affected by low vessel prices, the group's ship business currently only accounts for 17 percent of its overall business.

CSIC is deploying resources in 10 areas, including power and underwater defense products, electronic information and intelligent equipment, and mechanical and electrical equipment to integrate its civilian and military businesses over the next five years.

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