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Uranium imports to stay on track (2)

By Wang Qian and Du Juan (China Daily)

09:43, November 06, 2012

The Ministry of Land and Resources said on Sunday that a large leaching sandstone-type uranium deposit had been discovered in Inner Mongolia.

The deposit, the largest found so far in China to contain that type of uranium, is in the Daying areas of central Inner Mongolia, the ministry said.

The discovery will help increase the country's supply of uranium and ensure energy sources for nuclear power exist, the ministry said, without elaborating.

The site was discovered along with a "super-size" coal deposit estimated to contain 51 billion tons of coal, the ministry said.

The discovery gives evidence of the country's efforts to encourage the practice of exploring for coal and uranium simultaneously as a way to save costs, it said.

A team consisting of 500 technicians and builders from nuclear power companies and related government departments was sent to conduct the 10-month exploration after the site was tested during the drilling to detect radioactivity.

According to a 2012 white paper on the country's energy policy, which was released in October, the country is expected to have 40 million kilowatts of installed nuclear capacity by 2015, leading it to consume at least 7,500 tons a year of natural uranium.

China now produces about 1,000 tons of uranium a year, said Kevin Jianjun Tu, a senior associate at the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he directs Carnegie's work on China's energy and climate policies, in a previous report.

The World Nuclear Association estimates China will be using 20,000 tons of uranium a year by 2020, about a third of the global output in 2009.

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