On June 23, the website of the “Military Weapon and Equipment Procurement Information Network” (http://www.weain.mil.cn/), headed by the Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission, released “nine new procurement needs and 53 procurement announcements.” One of the procurement announcements was for a “ship with a nuclear power system analysis model development project.” The announcement that was circulated among mainland military fans was that the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has entered into the evaluation stage.
The PLA already owns two non-nuclear-powered aircraft carriers: the Liaoning and the Shandong. A third larger and more modern aircraft carrier is being built in Shanghai’s Jiangnan Shipyard. According to media reports, this ship, code-named 003, is still using traditional power.
Although the PLA wanted to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, it has not been able to make a breakthrough in the nuclear power system technology. The PLA already owns ten nuclear-powered submarines, but it is much more difficult to develop a nuclear reactor for larger ships.
Source: Central News Agency, June 25, 2020