China at least a decade away from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel on an industrial scale

By Dorothy Davis 

China’s state nuclear power company, China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) said the Country is at least a decade away from being able to reprocess spent nuclear fuel on a commercial scale as a solution to its growing uranium demands.

China Daily cited an unidentified CNNC official as the source of the remarks made during an annual briefing held Monday.

The statement follows an announcement earlier in January on China Central Television that CNNC engineers had successfully mastered the technology for reprocessing spent nuclear fuel through the extraction of plutonium and uranium from fuel rods utilized in nuclear power  plants.

Reports surrounding the initial breakthrough outlined that development of the nuclear fuel reprocessing technology held the potential to boost China’s use of its proven uranium by nearly sixty-fold.

China currently has 13 operating nuclear power plants with 25 under construction having officially set a goal of 40 gigawatts of installed nuclear power generating capacity by 2020.



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