Tuesday, February 21, 2006

China and Uranium

Here's validating and unsurprising news coming out of China about their uranium aspirations.

China Mulling Joint Development of Uranium
The Associated Press
Feb. 21, 2006

China is studying the possibility of jointly developing foreign uranium reserves in countries whose resources have yet to be fully exploited, a senior official with the China National Nuclear Corp. said Tuesday.

Analysis: as China is building 2 nuclear plants a year for the next 20 years, it would be prudent of them to secure a supply of uranium now while the metal is still fairly unrecognized when compared to commodities like oil.

"It's from these countries that we might buy uranium," said Shen Wenquan, vice chairman of the committee for science and technology for CNNC, which is responsible for China's civilian and military nuclear programs.

"If there's the possibility of developing these resources through a joint venture, then we can discuss that also," Shen said on the sidelines of a conference on China-European energy cooperation.

Analysis: China is taking the same approach with uranium as it is with Canadian oil sand companies, which, if you even have an inkling of how well they've been doing, would cause you to be happy about uranium too!

Shen would not say which countries might be considered.

Analysis: how about countries whose governments who are not wary of China and whose governments support uranium production? Anyone thinking Kazakhstan? Anyone remember Petrokazakhstan? Anyone excited about Urasia?

China is looking to shore up uranium supplies to fuel a massive planned expansion of nuclear power over the next 15 years. It has begun talks with Australia about imports from there, but shipments are likely months away since Beijing first must meet requirements guaranteeing the uranium could never be used for military purposes.

Analysis: Australia still has some of the tightest restrictions on uranium mining, although talks are underway to potentially double the existing 3 mine limit.

CNNC has a 30 percent stake in a unit of KazAtomprom, Kazakhstan's national nuclear company, with rights to develop a uranium deposit in the south of that country.
Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan are by far the biggest uranium producers in the world.

Analysis: So China has links with Kazakhstan via KazAtomprom and Urasia, as we all know, is intimately related to KazAtomprom through their joint ventures. Sounds intruiging doesn't it?


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