Reports: China plans to build nuclear aircraft carrier

Media reports say China is planning to build a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier capable of remaining at sea for long durations.

The Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post said Thursday the China Shipbuilding Industry Corp. issued a statement this week saying initial work had begun on the ship.

The company was responsible for extensively refurbishing China's first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, which arrived as a mostly empty hull from Ukraine, and for building the country's sole domestically produced carrier, which is expected to enter service later this year. Both are conventionally fueled.

The company's statement was also reported by mainland Chinese media, but was not visible on its website on Thursday.

Nuclear carriers such as the U.S. Navy's Nimitz class can operate for 20 years without refueling.