Russia and China plan to install a nuclear power plant on the Moon

Borisov, a former deputy defense minister, said Russia and China have been working together on a lunar program.

Russia and China are studying the possibility of installing a nuclear power plant on the Moon between 2033 and 2035, declared this Tuesday Yuri Borisov, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, something that, in his opinion, could one day allow the construction of lunar settlements.

Borisov, a former deputy defense minister, said Russia and China have been working together on a lunar program and that Moscow can contribute its expertise in “space nuclear energy.”

“Today we are seriously considering a project – sometime in 2033-2035 – to supply and install a power unit on the lunar surface together with our Chinese colleagues,” Borisov declared at the World Youth Forum taking place on Sirius, in southern Russia.

According to Borisov, solar panels could not provide enough electricity to power future lunar settlements, while nuclear energy could. And he argued that the day on the Earth’s satellite lasts 27 Earth days, half of which there is no sunlight. That is why solar panels cannot be used as a source of energy on the Moon.

“This is a very serious challenge (…) it should be done in automatic mode, without the presence of humans,” he said of the possible plan.

He explained that it is a mission that can be carried out automatically and all the technological solutions required for this are practically ready. He explained that the assembly of the energy installation must be carried out with robots for safety reasons, so as not to expose people to the danger of radiation.

Borisov also spoke of Russian plans to build a nuclear-powered cargo spacecraft. He stated that all technical issues relating to the project had been resolved, except for finding a solution to cool the nuclear reactor.

“Indeed, we are working on a space tug. This enormous cyclopean structure would be capable, thanks to a nuclear reactor and high-power turbines (…) of transporting large loads from one orbit to another, collecting space debris and dedicating itself to many other applications,” Borisov declared.

Russian authorities have previously spoken of their ambitious plans to one day exploit the Moon, but the Russian space program has suffered a series of setbacks in recent years.

Its first lunar mission in 47 years failed last year after the Russian Luna-25 spacecraft went out of control and crashed.

Moscow has said it will launch new lunar missions and explore the possibility of a joint Russian-Chinese manned mission and even a lunar base.

China declared last month that its goal was to put the first Chinese astronaut on the Moon before 2030.

Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed as false a U.S. warning that Moscow planned to put nuclear weapons in space, saying it was a ploy to lure Russia into arms negotiations on terms of West.

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