The China National Nuclear Corp booth at an industry show in Beijing. The State-owned nuclear giant said the reported spent fuel reprocessing technology may take at least a decade to be ready for commercial production. [Photo / China Daily]
It takes time for reprocessing of spent fuel to be large-scale by then
BEIJING - It will take at least a decade for China to start the large-scale industrial application of spent fuel reprocessing technology, which may be the solution to the supply shortage, the China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) said on Monday.
The remarks at the company's annual briefing added to earlier news that China's latest spent fuel reprocessing technology, developed by CNNC, will boost the usage rate of uranium sixtyfold.
"The technological breakthrough is a crucial step toward initial practical application, which is likely to happen within a year," said Li Tao, a spokeswoman for CNNC.
Spent fuel reprocessing requires fast-reactor technology, industry experts said.
The company also announced it has set an annual revenue target of 100 billion yuan ($15 billion) by the end of 2015, from 41.9 billion yuan in 2010.
CNNC, the nation's largest nuclear power developer, plans to have nuclear power projects with 16,000 megawatts (mW) capacity in operation and projects with an additional 20,000 mW capacity under construction by the end of 2015.
Meanwhile, it is also expanding into the wind-power sector and said it plans to build wind-power projects with a total capacity of 1000 mW over the next five years.
The company said in 2010 that it would invest 800 billion yuan in nuclear energy projects by 2020, in line with China's efforts to accelerate the development of the industry.
The nation aims to increase its nuclear power capacity to 40 gigawatts (gW) by 2020, compared with slightly more than 9 gW at present.
To fund the expansion target, CNNC plans to list its subsidiary, CNNC Nuclear Power Co Ltd, probably in the first half of 2011, the company told China Daily earlier.
It also pledged to accelerate overseas exploration and processing of uranium in 2011.
Last month, CNNC produced its first barrel of uranium in Niger, the company's first overseas mine .
China's demand for uranium could rise to 20,000 tons annually by 2020, more than a third of the 50,572 tons mined globally last year, according to the World Nuclear Association.
The nation has more than 170,000 tons of known uranium resources.
Industry analysts said two thirds of China's uranium needs would depend on overseas supplies.
In June, CNNC signed its first long-term contract for uranium ore with Cameco Corp of Canada for more than 10,000 tons over the next decade.