Nuclear power sector target too ‘aggressive’, says expert

February 9th, 2011 - 5:26 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, Feb.9 (ANI): An “over-aggressive” target for the nuclear power industry by 2020 may harm the sector’s healthy development, an industry expert from the National Development and Reform Commission’s (NDRC) think tank cautioned.

Any target exceeding 80 gigawatts (gW) by 2020 may put excessive pressure on China’s nuclear power industry due to inadequate domestic equipment manufacturing capacity and safety risks, said Xiao Xinjian, a researcher from the Energy Research Institute.

China currently has 13 reactors in operation, with a total generating capacity of 10.8 gW, and an additional 28 units, with a total capacity of 30.97 gW, are under construction, according to the latest statistics from the National Energy Administration (NEA).

China is expected to attain a nuclear power generation capacity of 11.74 gW by the end of 2011, the NEA said.

Nuclear power development will maintain the current growth rate till 2013, said Xinjian.

The industry needs time to digest the third-generation technology, the China Daily quoted Xiao, as saying.

A shortage of uranium is considered another important factor hindering the industry’s expansion.

The demand for uranium in China is expected to touch 20,000 tons annually by 2020, but the country will only be able to produce 2,400 tons of uranium by 2020, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA).

China is estimated to have 2 million tons of natural uranium resources but the current production capacity is only 750 tons annually.

China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC), the country’s largest nuclear power company, said they would increase annual capacity to 2,500 tons by 2015 and 4,000 to 5,000 tons by 2020, far more than the WNA estimates. (ANI)

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