Beijing: China has developed a prototype of a nuclear power plant for use in space that could generate one megawatt of electricity.
It is also the most powerful space nuclear power plant ever to generate 100 times more electricity than the space nuclear power plant being completed by the US space agency NASA. NASA aims to land its new nuclear power plant on the moon by 2030.
The Chinese space nuclear power plant was discovered by the Hong Kong-based English newspaper South China Morning Post in a recent report by its Beijing correspondent Stephen Chen.
According to the news, more details about this space nuclear power plant are not available as the Chinese government has kept most of the information about nuclear power plants secret in its space program.
However, it is clear that the purpose of this nuclear power plant is to provide long-term energy to the proposed spacecraft to be sent to the moon, Mars and distant planets.
Work on the project began in 2019 with Chinese government funding, and in recent days it has crossed the first milestone in the form of its first prototype.
This will be especially useful for situations and places where sunlight is either very dim compared to the earth or it fluctuates so much over and over again that solar energy cannot be relied upon.
China plans to send a large number of spacecraft to the dark side of the moon (which is always in the opposite direction to Earth) and to Mars, respectively, from 2023 to 2030. In addition, it has already announced the launch of the first manned flight to Mars by 2030.
The South China Morning Post reported, without revealing the identity of a Chinese nuclear scientist, that the technology had been “extraordinarily advanced” to enable the space nuclear power plant to generate more electricity with a smaller size.
It should be noted that so far all the nuclear power plants built for space use have been able to generate only a few hundred watts of electricity while most of the projects of 10 kW to 300 kW are still in the process of completion.
In that sense, it is the world’s first space nuclear power plant to generate one megawatt (1000 kW) of electricity.