China May Approve Nuclear Projects on Revised Safety Rules
Comment of the Day

December 14 2011

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

China May Approve Nuclear Projects on Revised Safety Rules

This article by Guo Aibing for Bloomberg may be of interest to subscribers. Here is a section:
The National Energy Administration is drafting a separate nuclear power development plan, which will set goals for atomic capacity by 2020, Zhao said. New project approvals are unlikely to be delayed until the targets are decided, he said.

“It's a 10-year plan,” Zhao said. “If more capacity is approved in the first few years, we can hold back a bit in the later years. I don't think there is a need for everyone to hold on for that guideline to be completed first.”

China, which started operating its first commercial nuclear plant in 1994, is building at least 27 reactors and has 50 more planned, according to the association.

The country aims to install 70 gigawatts of nuclear capacity by the end of the decade, the National Energy Administration said last year. Li Yongjiang, another vice president at the association, told Bloomberg in October that the goal may be scaled back to between 60 gigawatts and 70 gigawatts.

China will limit the number of reactors to be built on the coast, the State Oceanic Administration said on April 7. The country, constructing more reactors than any other nation, has at least 14 atomic units in operation, according to data from the World Nuclear Association.

China's National Nuclear Safety Administration, a department of the environmental protection ministry, will increase the strength of its staff, including inspectors, to more than 1,000 from about 300. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has almost 4,000 people overseeing 104 reactors, according to its website.

Eoin Treacy's view The Fukushima accident was a major setback for the nuclear industry. Uranium miners were among the hardest hit and many shares fell back into their respective bases. Nevertheless, while China put its reactor construction plans on hold they did not cancel them. As the world's largest energy consumer the country has little choice but to expand just about all avenues for energy production since consumption is on a secular upward trajectory.

The declines posted by uranium miners initiated a fresh round of rationalisation with major companies such as Cameco, Rio Tinto and Guangdong Nuclear attempting takeovers of smaller less well capitalised companies. (Also see Comment of the Day on December 8 th ).

The results of a Chart Library Performance Filter of 34 uranium miners indicate that only 3 have posted a positive performance over the last six months. Extract Resources has long been notable for its relative performance and may be taken over if Guangdong Nuclear is successful in acquiring Kalahari Minerals.

Toro Energy was formed through the agglomeration of Minotaur Exploration and Oxiana Limited's uranium assets. The company has a market cap of A$96 million. The share remains in the region of the 2009 and 2010 lows but rallied impressively last week and a sustained move below A8.5¢ would be required to question potential for some additional higher to lateral ranging.

Mawson Resources is another small cap exploration company with a market cap of C$89 million. It has been ranging above C$1 since late last year. A sustained move above C$2 would break the medium-term progression of lower rally highs and reaffirm medium-term demand dominance.

Back to top