CGN arm seeks more ura­nium re­sources

The move is aimed at se­cur­ing fuel sup­plies for nu­clear plants

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By LYUCHANG lvchang@chi­

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.

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