Beijing: China, one of largest importers of uranium, has drilled to a depth of nearly 3,000 metres to secure a steady supply of the yellow cake for its nuclear reactors to meet its growing energy demands.

China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) announced that a "technological breakthrough" of drilling to 2,818.88 metres was achieved in the resource-rich Fuzhou City in east China's Jiangxi Province, with its drilling reaching a new depth with a cutting section twice as big as an ordinary optical disk.

China's uranium prospecting has typically been carried out at depths less than 500 metres. Its previous record drilling depth reached 1,200 metres. CNNC said the new drilling technology can help boost China's domestic uranium supplies and ensure the key energy source for developing nuclear power generation.

In addition to the drilling depth, the company said it has independently developed parts of drilling equipments and technology to facilitate uranium exploration.

By 2020, China will have the third-largest number of nuclear power-generating units in operation, following the United States and France.

A government white paper on energy released in October, 2012 said China had 15 nuclear power-generating units in operation with a total installed capacity of 12.54 GW. China has another 30 units currently under construction, which will add another 32.81 GW.

China now produces about 1,000 tons of uranium a year. According to the World Nuclear Association, China will consume 20,000 tons of uranium a year by 2020, which is about a third of the global output in 2009.

China imported 16,126 tons of uranium in 2011, six percent lower than the 17,135 tons it imported in 2010. It buys 95 percent of its uranium from Kazakhstan, Namibia, Australia and Uzbekistan.


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