China Seeks Uranium Supplies for Nuclear Power Growth

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China is today pursuing the acquisition of nuclear generating and fuel processing technology as it plans an aggressive nuclear energy expansion plan. Its domestic uranium resources, however, fall short of the forecast requirements needed to fuel commercial reactors slated for construction over the next two decades, Dr. R. Gene Clark, chief executive officer of TradeTech, explained in a recent presentation to the Nuclear Industry Congress in Shanghai, China.

China is today pursuing the acquisition of nuclear generating and fuel processing technology as it plans an aggressive nuclear energy expansion plan. Its domestic uranium resources, however, fall short of the forecast requirements needed to fuel commercial reactors slated for construction over the next two decades, Dr. R. Gene Clark, chief executive officer of TradeTech, explained in a recent presentation to the Nuclear Industry Congress in Shanghai, China.

“China’s currently identified domestic uranium resources are not sufficient to meet future demand, which has led the country’s nuclear industry to pursue foreign sources of uranium through exploration and production joint ventures. In addition to foreign joint ventures, China is negotiating commercial contracts that will secure uranium imports for its long-term nuclear power expansion goals,” Clark stated.

Clark’s presentation, entitled Uranium: China’s Quest for Secure Supplies, highlighted options that Asia’s largest nation can pursue to fulfill future uranium supply for nuclear electricity generation. Presently, China has a production capacity of approximately 850 tU annually, which could be expanded through commissioning of new mines, expansion of existing mines, and uranium recovery from coal ash. In addition, Chinese joint ventures in Kazakhstan have the potential to add significantly to China’s annual uranium supply, according to Clark.

Clark also outlined the relationship between uranium and enrichment as it relates to China’s nuclear fuel supply. ”China could effectively decrease its mined uranium requirements by increasing its purchases or production of uranium enrichment services, although there is a technical limit to savings from this option,” Clark stated. There is rapid planned growth in enrichment capacity around the world, from expansion of existing facilities and construction of new plants in Russia, China, Japan, Europe, and the USA.

(Note to Editors: Uranium enrichment is a key step in transforming natural uranium into nuclear fuel for electricity production. It involves the process of increasing the concentration of U-235 and decreasing that of U-238. Uranium enrichment is sold as separative work units (SWU), the level of effort required to increase the concentration of U-235 in natural uranium. Uranium tails consist of depleted uranium with about 0.2-0.3% U-235, compared to about 0.7% for newly mined uranium.)

About TradeTech
TradeTech publishes the Nuclear Market Review (NMR) each Friday evening, which reports the weekly uranium spot market price, uranium trading activity, industry news, and market data. The monthly edition of the NMR, published on the last day of each month, includes TradeTech Market Values (Exchange Value, UF6 Value, Loan Rate, Conversion Value, SWU Value, and Transaction Value) and Mid- and Long-Term Price Indicators, as well as analysis related to these price determinations, supply/demand information, and industry news. TradeTech also publishes The Nuclear Review, a monthly trade publication dedicated to the international uranium and nuclear energy industry.

TradeTech, and its predecessor companies–NUEXCO Information Services, CONCORD Information Services, and CONCORD Trading Company–has supported the uranium and nuclear fuel cycle industry for more than 40 years, and is widely recognized for its expertise in trading activities and its comprehensive knowledge of the technical, economic, and political factors affecting this industry. TradeTech provides expert market consulting, participates in the buying and selling of uranium products and services, and maintains an extensive information database on these industries.

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