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Uranium supply key for top energy user China

Alternative Energy

In Kurt Vonegut’s 1976 novel ‘Slapstick, Or Lonesome No More’, he talks about a future Chinese government that physically shrinks the population to reduce resources demand.

But such a mass miniaturisation remains in the realms of fiction, and China’s insatiable appetite continues to grow.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) this week said the world’s most populous nation was now using more energy than the US, or any other country for that matter. And it happened faster than the IEA expected.

Since the turn of the century, China’s energy consumption has doubled. The country has scrambled across the globe in search of oil to supply its needs, and in 2009 became the biggest coal importer.

The problem with these types of energies, to state the obvious, is that they put a lot of smoke in the air, which is frowned upon in the modern world.

China needs to reduce its reliability on fossil fuels while its energy demand is still rapidly growing. Its energy use on a per-capita basis is still only around one-third of the OECD average, the IEA said.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Fact Book, China said in 2006 it would reduce its energy intensity by 20% by 2010 from 2005 levels.

The country plans to cut carbon intensity by 40% from 2005 to 2020.

How will it do this? There are really two options, and it is pursuing both – renewable and nuclear.

Renewable energy sources have their limitations, which means nuclear will provide a large portion of China’s new power generation capacity. Already, over half of the new nuclear plants under construction around the world are in China or India.

This means China’s going to be needing a lot of uranium to feed these plants, and the country doesn’t have all that much of the nuclear fuel within its borders.

If the uranium market tightens up over the next decade, as analysts predict, the country is going to need to make its got enough uranium to keep the power flowing.

Mining Weekly

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