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China might not save the nuclear industry, as they had hoped

Even before Fukushima, China’s government was asking tough questions of its nuclear growth ambitions. Late last year, its State Council Research Office issued a report outlining a number of concerns about the expansion program.

Since Fukushima, China’s government has pressed the pause button on nuclear expansion

 the new generation AP1000 reactors that make up a large portion of the proposed nuclear capacity are not yet in operation anywhere in the world. It is an as yet unproven technology

there is reason for the people of China to be asking questions about the country’s ability to deliver large-scale, hi-tech projects as memories of July’s tragic Wenzhou high-speed rail crash, in which 40 passengers died, are still fresh in their minds….. Nuclear will remain a fringe source of power in China

China’s nuclear ambitions move to the slow laneBY: PAUL GARVEY , The Australian,  December 19, 2011  CHINA has been the one ray of hope in a miserable year for the global uranium industry. But sadly for uranium stocks, it looks increasingly likely China’s substantial nuclear reactor development program will take much longer to roll out than planned.

With the nuclear industry under review across Europe and Japan in the wake of the Fukushima disaster earlier this year, China has represented one of the only, and certainly the largest, growth market for uranium.

The country has spelt out plans to lift its nuclear capacity from 10GW
to up to 120GW by 2020. In a uranium industry reeling from a steep
post-Fukushima fall in yellowcake prices, that growth potential has
been a badly needed source of encouragement.

But now, coming anywhere close to that 120GW target looks increasingly
remote. China rarely misses a target it sets itself, but it looks
increasingly likely it will fall substantially short of its predicted
nuclear expansion.

Even before Fukushima, China’s government was asking tough questions
of its nuclear growth ambitions.

Late last year, its State Council Research Office issued a report
outlining a number of concerns about the expansion program.

It warned of a lack of manpower, inadequate laws and regulations on
nuclear safety, and a plant design that underestimated the risk of
serious accidents.

Since Fukushima, China’s government has pressed the pause button on
nuclear expansion while it reviews how the lessons from Japan reflect
on its plans.

Particular attention is being paid to contingency planning……
here are several concerning aspects of China’s program that bolster
the case for a slower-than-expected development of nuclear capacity.

Although it remains committed to upping its capacity, several factors
will impede that progress.First, the new generation AP1000 reactors
that make up a large portion of the proposed nuclear capacity are not
yet in operation anywhere in the world. It is an as yet unproven
technology, and it would be wise for China to build and test one or
two of the new reactors before committing to the sort of wide-scale
rollout proposed under the original plans.

Second, there is reason for the people of China to be asking questions
about the country’s ability to deliver large-scale, hi-tech projects
as memories of July’s tragic Wenzhou high-speed rail crash, in which
40 passengers died, are still fresh in their minds. That project was,
like the proposed nuclear rollout, built to an ambitious scale and
timetable, and since the accident, stories have emerged of graft and
corner-cutting on the project that have dented the public’s confidence
in China’s ability to deliver such developments. In the same way
Fukushima has raised questions about the safety of nuclear reactors,
the train disaster raised questions about China’s capacity to deliver
large and complex technological projects.

Third, although development plans are huge in the context of global
uranium demand and the expansion of China’s nuclear capacity, they are
small in the overall context of China’s energy needs…..Nuclear will
remain a fringe source of power in China

December 19, 2011 - Posted by | business and costs, China, Uranium

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