Beijing, Jan.4 (ANI): China's ambitions to lead the world in nuclear power were boosted today by reports that its scientists had mastered a key technique in the reprocessing of spent uranium.
The Guardian quoted Chinese media as claiming that the technology overcame a supply bottleneck and ensured China would have sufficient nuclear fuel for at least 3,000 years.
The breakthrough would be a boon to the domestic industry, which is in the early stages of what looks likely to be the most spectacular burst of reactor building in world history.
Due to surging demand for energy and growing concerns about pollution, China's nuclear-power generating capacity is projected to increase up to tenfold in the next 10 years.
By 2030 China could be on course to overtake the US as the world's leading atomic energy producer.
The technology, developed and tested at the number 404 factory of the China National Nuclear Corporation, situated in the Gobi desert, enables recycling of irradiated fuel, according to China Central Television.
How this differs from existing reprocessing methods in other countries is unclear, but the state broadcaster said that with this technique a kilo of uranium could produce close to 60 times more power than was now possible in China.
If proven this method would extend the "usage life" of the 171,400 tons of the country's known uranium deposits, which previously were forecast to last less than 70 years.
Reprocessing can also provide fissile material for weapons, though details have not yet been disclosed about the potential impact on China's nuclear arsenal. (ANI)