Nuclear power in China, India and Pakistan and uranium in Australia and Kazakhstan

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1. China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) plans to invest 800 billion yuan ($120 billion) into nuclear energy projects by 2020.

Total investment in nuclear power plants, in which CNNC will hold controlling stakes, will reach 500 billion yuan ($75 billion) by 2015.

2. The project to build the world’s first AP1000, China’s Sanmen 1, reached a construction milestone when the third steel ring of the plant’s containment vessel was hoisted into place. Work on the Westinghouse reactor is now back on schedule, despite falling six months behind at the end of last year.

3. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited is ready to sell Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors of 220 MWe or 540 MWe capacity to other countries, according to Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chairman Srikumar Banerjee. These reactors, which use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as both moderator and coolant, offered a basket of options for countries looking for cost-competitive and proven technologies in the small- and medium-sized reactors.

4. China on Tuesday gave its firmest government confirmation yet of plans to build two new nuclear reactors for Pakistan.

Spokeswoman Jiang Yu was also asked about the China National Nuclear Corp’s statement on Monday that it is in talks to build a 1-gigawatt nuclear reactor for Pakistan, in addition to the four smaller Chashma units built, being finished or planned but she did not answer the question.

5. Toro Energy managing director, Greg Hall, described his expectations for Australian Uranium production.

At the high price end, Australia could produce 7000t of additional uranium oxide by 2015, rising to 14,000t by 2022. A median price range would see this output ease back to between 3000 additional tonnes in 2015 and just under 12,000 additional tonnes in 2022. A low price environment going forward would see only a low increase in Australian uranium oxide output to barely above 2,000 additional tonnes in 2015 and up to 4,000 additional tonnes between 2018 and 2022.

Another comment :

around US$3 billion had been spent globally on uranium exploration since late in 2003.

6. Kyrgyzstan could become a significant uranium producer.

Kyrgyzstan’s uranium geology is similar to Kazakhstan’s with the Shu-Sarysu and Sudaraya uranium deposits in South Kazakhstan totaling over 1 million tonnes of uranium, representing a significant portion of known global recoverable resources in the region. Sedimentary rocks in the Fergana Valley are host to significant uranium deposits of “sandstone-style” or “roll-front” uranium deposits. Uranium from these deposits is considered to have been shed from primary uranium occurrences in the Alay mountain range

7. Uranium is drawing interest from investors including hedge funds after prices for the nuclear fuel climbed to the highest level in more than 10 months, according to Ux Consulting Co.

Uranium-oxide concentrate for immediate delivery remained at $48 a pound for a third week, Roswell, Georgia-based UxC said yesterday in a report. Prices are up 19 percent from this year’s low in March. Kazatomprom, the state-owned Kazakh nuclear company, aims to raise uranium production by 29 percent to about 18,000 metric tons this year, Vice President Galimzan Pirmatov said on Sept. 16. Planned expansion may boost annual output to 25,000 tons by 2016.

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