CHINA URGENTLY SEEKING NEW URANIUM RESOURCES DOMESTICALLY AND OVERSEAS
“…China produces around 1,000 tonnes of uranium a year. The World Nuclear Association has reported that China will be using 20,000 tonnes of uranium a year by 2020, about a third of the global output in 2009. The country will need to source the rest from the global market, which could set the market soaring, in order to shift away from coal as a fuel source…”
China National Nuclear Corporation is to speed up overseas uranium mining exploration. The country’s leading nuclear energy developer is to focus on Australia, Africa and Central Asia, to meet its growing demand for raw material.
Formed in December 2011 in an effort to restructure its parent company, the state owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) is undergoing initial examination by the China Securities Regulatory Commission to obtain an approval for an Initial Public Offering (IPO).
The capital raised from the IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange is slated to be used in five nuclear plant programmes, while the total investment is expected to be around $27.76 billion, according to a report in the China Daily.
The company had received final approval from the Ministry of Environmental Protection to move forward with its IPO way back in August. The move indicates China’s long term ambitions for nuclear power. The company runs more than 40% of China’s nuclear sites.
Last month, a large uranium deposit was discovered in North China. An announcement by the Ministry of Land and Resources noted the site was discovered along with a super size coal mine, the reserve of which was estimated at 51 billion tonnes.
The ministry announced the discovery was significant to boost domestic uranium supplies and ensure energy sources for developing nuclear power in the country.
In 2008, China discovered its first 10,000 tonne leaching sandstone type uranium deposit in the Yili basin in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
China is a major importer of uranium. The country has around 15 operational nuclear reactors, with plans to expand its nuclear industry. Another 27 reactors are under construction near coastal areas.
The Asian superpower lifted its freeze on new nuclear projects which had been in place since Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster last year, and is only investigating projects proposed for coastal areas.
China imported 16,126 metric tonnes of uranium in 2011, down 6% from the previous year, according to the General Administration of Customs. Around 95% of China’s uranium imports are from Kazakhstan, Namibia, Australia and Uzbekistan.
According to a 2012 white paper on the country’s energy policy, which was released in October, China is expected to have 40 million kilowatts of installed nuclear capacity by 2015.
China produces around 1,000 tonnes of uranium a year. The World Nuclear Association has reported that China will be using 20,000 tonnes of uranium a year by 2020, about a third of the global output in 2009. The country will need to source the rest from the global market, which could set the market soaring, in order to shift away from coal as a fuel source.
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