Stanford University
Breaking The Ice

China Is Building a 33,000 Ton Nuclear Icebreaker

byDan Robitzski
3. 20. 19
Stanford University

Designed to grind and smash through ice, it'll be one of the most epic ships on Earth.

Polar Bear Club

China is working to develop a 33,069-ton nuclear icebreaker, designed to smash and grind its way through ice-covered waters, that would be even bigger than the epic nuclear-powered vessels built by Russia.

The state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group just passed its Wednesday deadline for accepting bids from Chinese companies interested in actually building the 152-meter ship, according to the South China Morning Post, possibly to build naval dominance in the Arctic.

Test Run

The experimental ship, which would be China’s first nuclear-powered surface vessel, would travel at a max speed of 11.5 knots, or just over 13 miles per hour, according to the SCMP, and it could pave the way for nuclear-propelled aircraft carriers.

Right now, only Russia has nuclear icebreakers in service — both Russia and China decided to develop the technology to help them expand their presence in the Arctic Ocean.

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However, China has not specified how it plans to use the ship once it’s built. Rather, SCMP reports that the China General Nuclear Power Group has only referred to the project as an “experimental ship platform.”

READ MORE: Could China’s ‘experimental’ ship be the world’s biggest nuclear-powered icebreaker? [South China Morning Post]

More on nuclear boats: To Power Villages And Oil Rigs, Russia Sent A Nuclear Reactor On A “Tsunami-Proof” Barge


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