China ‘plans to build 20 floating nuclear power stations’ in disputed waters

China says it hopes to build mobile nuclear power plants in the South China Sea, days after an international tribunal dismissed Beijing’s vast claims in the strategically vital waters. “Marine nuclear power platform construction will be used to support China’s effective control in the South China Sea,” the China National Nuclear Corporation said. The installations would be critical in providing fresh water to the Spratly chain, where China is building a series of artificial islands. “In the future, as the South China Sea electricity and power system is strengthened, China will speed up the commercial development of the South China Sea region,” the state-run Global Times said.

In the past, the freshwater provision to troops stationed in the South China Sea could not be guaranteed, and could only be provided by boats delivering barrels of water

China National Nuclear Corporation via the Global Times

China has rapidly built up reefs in the sea into artificial islands in recent months, installing civilian and military facilities on them. But the report comes three days after a Permanent Court of Arbitration tribunal backed the Philippines’ case that there was no legal basis for Beijing’s maritime claims which extend almost to the coasts of neighbouring states. It also found that China’s activities had inflicted severe damage to fragile coral ecosystems and caused serious harm to endangered species. However, China has insisted that it will ignore the decision while warning its rivals that increasing pressure on the issue could turn the resource-rich waters into a “cradle of war”.