FOREX NEWS & ANALYSIS
China planner sees limited role for nuclear power
04/21/07 12:03 pm (GMT)
BOAO, China (AFX) – China is developing nuclear power as it looks for alternative forms of energy, but the role of the energy source will be limited by a shortage of uranium, a senior state planner said.
Chen Deming, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that nuclear energy will only be a provisional solution to meeting the nation’s growing demand for energy.
“Nuclear has a lot of advantages, but geographically-speaking for China it is not great as most reserves are overseas and there will not be enough to meet all of our energy demands,” Chen told the Boao Forum for Asia, an annual regional conference.
The means of disposing of radioactive material is another concern, Chen said, noting that even advanced countries like the US and France have to resort to burying waste underground, where it will remain toxic for centuries.
“Nuclear cannot be a long-term solution, it is a provisional and partial solution for future needs. Also the burying of radioactive waste underground is one of the costs of development of the nuclear industry, and it is a cost that will be borne by our children,” he added.
China had seven mln kilowatts of installed nuclear capacity at the end of last year, Chen said, adding that more will come on line over the next few years, bringing the total to around 16 mln kilowatts.
Just 1.92 pct of China’s total energy was generated from nuclear energy in 2006.
China will also build a strategic uranium reserve and seek uranium overseas.
Two companies, the China National Nuclear Group and Guangdong Nuclear Group, are authorized to source uranium from overseas, Chen said.