Chinese power companies stockpiling uranium

Cameco Corp, the world's second-largest uranium producer, said power utilities in China are continuing to stockpile uranium, making them the market's single largest group of buyers.
Utilities in China have bought an estimated eight million pounds of uranium, the raw material in the nuclear-reactor fuel, from the spot market this year, said George Assie, Cameco's Senior Vice President, marketing.

"Keep in mind they (China) have 13 reactors under construction," Assie said yesterday on a conference call with investors and analysts.

"The stockpile there is for a very specific reason and that is to feed those reactors under construction," he was quoted as saying by 'China Daily' on its website.Uranium purchase by Chinese utilities this year confirms that the world's most populous country is becoming a more significant force in nuclear-fuel markets, said Dustin Garrow, the Denver-based Executive General Manager (Marketing) for Paladin Energy Ltd, the world's ninth-largest uranium producer.

"There's no question the Chinese will become more active buyers as they increase their installed nuclear capacity," Garrow said.

Chinese activity in uranium spot markets was "minimal" last year, he said.China, which has about 8,587 MW of nuclear-power capacity, is actively building enough new reactors to boost capacity by 15,360 MW, Garrow said, citing data from the World Nuclear Association.

"The level of nuclear development activity in China is astonishing," he said.
About 33 million pounds of uranium has changed hands in the global spot market so far this year, Assie said.

"We've done some business with China and our discussions continue ... (on) longer-term arrangements," Assie said.

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