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Russia and China confirm plans for nuclear reactor on moon are ‘almost ready’

Russia and China have announced plans to team up to build an automated nuclear reactor on the moon by 2035.

Roscosmos (Russia’s space agency) and the China National Space Administration (CNSA) plan to build a reactor that will help power a proposed lunar base, jointly operated by both countries.

They announced the plans for the base back in 2021. It will be named the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) and would be “open to all interested countries and international partners”.

This week Roscosmos announced it would be building the reactor to power the ILRS. The space agency’s director general Yury Borisov told TASS: “Today we are seriously considering a project — somewhere at the turn of 2033-2035 — to deliver and install a power unit on the lunar surface together with our Chinese colleagues.”

He added that the construction of the reactor would likely be “without the presence of humans”. Mr Borisov added that the necessary technological solutions to pull it off are “almost ready”.

However, plans for how to transport cargo to the moon to help build the base make take some time to iron out. The space agency is looking to use massive nuclear-powered rockets to transfer shipments and materials, referred to as a “space tugboat”, but has not yet figured out how to build these spacecraft safely.

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