Skip to content

Russia, China 'Seriously Considering' Establishment of Nuclear Power Plant on Moon

March 6, 2024 (EIRNS)—Yuri Borisov, head of Russia’s space program, Roscosmos, announced that a nuclear power plant could power a lunar settlement and most of the needed technology is already available. Speaking at the World Youth Festival near Sochi this week, Borisov said Russia and China are “seriously considering” a joint venture to use robots for final assembly of the nuclear reactor on the Moon from 2033 to 2035, according to Reuters. However, they are still looking at improved ways to keep the reactor cool during lunar days. Borisov also spoke of plans for a nuclear-powered space “tugboat” that could transport large cargoes and even collect space debris. He said that many space missions require much more power than could be produced by solar collectors.

Nuclear fuel has successfully been used in space since 1961 when NASA launched its first mission fueled by a radioisotope thermal generator (RTG) which uses the heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238. The large temperature difference between this heat source and the space environment can generate an electric current in metallic junctions called thermocouples. Over two dozen NASA missions have used these RTGs.

The Russia-China plan does not operate based on nuclear decay, but rather nuclear fission, which produces far more power.