Russia And China Planning To Put Nuclear Plant On Moon

The head of Russia’s space agency said it’s working on plans with China to deliver and install a nuclear power plant on the moon by 2035.

“Today we are seriously considering the project,” Yury Borisov, general director of Roscosmos, said during a Tuesday lecture to students, according to the Interfax news service. Borisov said the power plant would need to be built by robots.

In 2021, Russia and China presented a road map for building a scientific station on the moon by the end of 2035. According to a Tass news service report, the plan for the project includes technical lunar rovers for research, a jumping robot, and several intelligent mini-rovers designed to explore the surface of Earth’s satellite.

Borisov also said Russia was against the deployment of nuclear weapons in space, echoing President Vladimir Putin, who earlier denied U.S. allegations about the Kremlin’s plans for such arms.

“Of course, space should be free of nuclear weapons,” Borisov said, according to Interfax.

Nuclear power on the moon has previously been discussed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA. The DOE in 2022 said contracts had been finalized with three groups that would develop the project with the U.S. space agency. That project talked about a nuclear power plant on the moon at some point early in the next decade.

Borisov on Tuesday talked about Russia’s plans to build a nuclear-powered cargo spaceship. He said technical concerns about the project have been resolved, except for finding a way to cool the nuclear reactor.

Borisov, according to media reports, said, “We are indeed working on a space tugboat. This huge, cyclopean structure would be able, thanks to a nuclear reactor and high-power turbines, to transport large cargoes from one orbit to another, collect space debris, and engage in many other applications.”

Borisov called building a nuclear power plant on the moon “a severe challenge,” adding that “it should be done in automatic mode, without the presence of humans.”

A news agency said the joint mission also would be used to set up communications and power systems on the moon. China has said that under the project’s timeline, it would support three missions to the lunar surface, including the Chang’e 6 project, a planned robotic mission expected to launch in May.

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