Energy association official advises more investment in uranium exploration

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China should ramp up investment in uranium exploration to secure supplies as the demand for the resource is set to surge amid the government's push on nuclear power development, a senior energy association official said Friday.

With the development of nuclear power in China, the demand for uranium will rise substantially, said Li Yongjiang, vice director of the China Nuclear Energy Association, calling for more investment and cooperation in exploration.

China, the world's largest primary energy consumer, has stepped up its construction of nuclear plants during the past five years to reduce the reliance on coal and support its attempts to cope with climate change.

Li said China will have 80 million kilowatts of installed capacity of nuclear power by 2020 and another 20 million under construction. Over the next five years, China plans to launch nuclear energy projects with a combined generation capacity of 40 million kw, according to the draft 12th Five-Year Plan.

China's current uranium production is inadequate to feed the growing nuclear industry, he added.

China has huge uranium reserve, he said. However,the lack of investment has held back further exploration, he said, adding about 50 percent of explorable areas of uranium are yet to be assessed.

Li requested more government investment and policy support to increase uranium supply. China should set up a long-term and steady fiscal funding mechanism to fix exploration process according to the country's needs.

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