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Post Info TOPIC: China plans nuclear deep-sea mining base


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China plans nuclear deep-sea mining base
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Science

China plans nuclear deep-sea mining base

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A Chinese company is set to build a nuclear-powered mobile deep-sea station in the western Pacific, according to local reports.

The China Ship Scientific Research Centre's proposed station -- which will have huge propellers to enable free movement in the ocean depths -- will be manned by 33 crew for up to two months at a time and powered by a nuclear reactor.

Its main goal, according to reports in the South China Sea Post, will be to mine for precious metals. The nation, which recently announced it is stockpiling rare earth elements amid fears of shortages, would use the facilities to hunt mainly for copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and oil.

Underwater mining is typically a costly affair, full of potential dangers and problems. Canadian-owned Nautilus Minerals Inc was the first commercial copper-gold mining venture to be granted permission to explore the Bismarck Sea floor surrounding Papua New Guinea, but has already run into problems with environmentalists warning the mining could destroy marine life and cause devastating oil spills. China's Tongling Non-ferrous Metals Group had signed up as the project's very first customer in April 2012, but a dispute with Papua New Guinea also stands to halt the mining project's 2013 launch completely

The Chinese company appears to be wary of these issues, and is therefore treading carefully, with plans for the bold venture slated for a more reasonable 2030 launch -- according to experts the South China Sea Post spoke to -- and a smaller 12-crew prototype capable of 18-day dives set to launch by 2015. The larger 60-metre-long craft will weigh in at 2,600 tonnes.

In preparation, the China Ship Scientific Research Centre has been engaging in test dives of manned vehicles -- its Jiaolong model reached a record-breaking 7,020 metres at the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean on the same day that China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft docked at the Tiangong 1 space station.

Reports suggest that the project is being funded by the state's 863 Program, a fund specifically for the development of innovative technologies, which has links with the military. Nevertheless, mining for oil and copper seem to be the most likely priorities on the agenda, with crew on the station able to spend two months at a time living and mining underwater.

Shanghai is hosting the 41st Underwater Mining Institute conference October 2012, and further details could potentially be revealed then. In the meantime, a look at the China Ship Scientific Research Centre's website reveals fields of interest that range from manned submersibles such as the Jiaolong vessel to atmospheric one-man diving suits and autonomous underwater robots -- the latter would be exponentially beneficial in aiding aquanauts during danger-filled underwater mining missions.

The centre also appears to be keen on waterslides. Definitely one to watch.



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http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-07/09/china-underwater-mining-station



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I trust that China has their arrangement in real life even at this point. As indicated by the expressions of Chinese researcher Lee Wong, their nation makes associations with the assistance of pandas. They present one and an individual is exposed to their impact.

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