CGN arm seeks more uranium resources
The move is aimed at securing fuel supplies for nuclear plants
The uranium subsidiary of China General Nuclear Power Corp, the country’s largest nuclear operator, is looking to buy more assets in the uranium-rich countries such as Kazakhstan, Canada and Australia, a top company official said.
“We will consider acquiring more uranium assets if the price is reasonable,” Zhou Rongsheng, chief engineer at CGN Uranium Resources Co Ltd, told China Daily on the sidelines of an industry conference in Beijing.
“We are now considering expanding cooperation with Kazakhstan in both uranium production and fuel assemblies.”
He said China’s uranium production is expected to top 30,000 tons by 2030, which will enable the country to secure fuel supplies for nuclear power plants being planned athomeand abroad.
“By 2020, uranium production in China will exceed one-third of the world’s total production,” he added.
CGN has already secured uraniumprojects in nearly all major uranium-producing nations, including Namibia, Kazakhstan and Australia. Last year, CGN paid C$82.2 million ($63.78 million) for a nearly 20 percent stake in Fission Uranium Corp, making it the first direct Chinese investment in a Canadian uranium developer.
Since 2006, CGN has been involved in the uranium market in Kazakhstan, which has 15 percent of the world’s uranium resources and an expanding mining sector.
The State-owned company also plans to set up a joint venture in Kazakhstan to produce nuclear fuel assemblies, which will ensure sufficient fuel supplies asChinese nuclear companies seek to go global, CGN said in a statement.
A report by the World Nuclear Association said less than a quarter of nuclear fuel supplies comes from domestic uranium mining and exploration and plans for new mines have increased significantly since 2000.
It said that State-owned enterprises are acquiring uranium resources internationally as the world’s secondlargest economy is trying to become self-sufficient in most aspects of the fuel cycle.
“By international standards, China’s ores are low-grade and production has been inefficient. The nuclear power companies are not depending on the national goal of sourcing one-third of uranium domestically, and are ramping up international arrangements to obtain fuel,” it said.
An expert, who prefers to be anonymous, said that uranium is of strategic importance for China. “The country tries to produce onethird of its uranium domestically, obtain one-third through foreign uranium mines, and to purchase onethird on the open market,” the expert said.