China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) on Thursday invited bids for the construction of a nuclear-powered icebreaker ship, a project seen as a predecessor to the construction of nuclear powered aircraft carrier and other large naval ships.
Bidders are required to participate in research, appraisal, building and testing of the ship, and provide technology support for the user. It will be China's first nuclear-powered icebreaker support ship, and it will be able to break ice, open waterways in the polar region and provide electricity, the company said in its website.
This is China's first nuclear-powered ship, which is of great significance to China's development of nuclear-powered vessels, an anonymous military expert told the Global Times.
The ship's nuclear power unit is huge and can be applied to a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier once updated, so it can be seen as a preparation for the aircraft carrier, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, was quoted as saying.
Nuclear power technology will also be applied to other military vessels, which allows them to travel long distances, and thus protect national security and overseas interests, Song said.
The US and former Soviet Union used their experience with nuclear-powered icebreaker ships to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, he noted.
The building of a nuclear-powered icebreaker support ship will enhance China's ability to conduct scientific explorations in the Polar Regions, according to Song.