Monday, 3 January 2011

China's re-processing breakthrough

Chinese state owned China National Nuclear Corporation is claiming that they have developed a means of re-processing heavily irradiated (and up to now useless) spent nuclear fuel.

The implications of this are tremendous: they mean that China can now extend it's uranium reserves from 50 years to a claimed 3000 years.

If this is true, China is effectively the new superpower and will not have the achilles heel of coal dependency.

That gives China with 97% of the world's rare earths production a head start on everyone else on the planet for moving to a post-carbon economy and maintaining (even strengthening) it's grip on global manufacturing.

This is great news since it removes a reason to fight over oil supplies.

The downside is this: it also removes leverage that we in the West have over coal supplies which will become increasingly irrelevant and thus limited leverage over the current production of rare earths. For that reason, this report *may* be simple smoke and mirrors.

If this report turns out to be true then the question for us in the West is this:
Can we duplicate what the Chinese have done in order to extend our own supplies of Uranium?

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