Report - Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center

China's Uranium Enrichment Capacity: Rapid Expansion to Meet Commercial Needs

| August 20, 2015

Based on satellite imagery, Chinese publications, and discussions with Chinese experts, this report suggests that China already has much more civilian enrichment capacity than previously thought, and even more is on the way. MTA Senior Research Associate Hui Zhang estimates China’s current enrichment capacity is about 4.5 million SWU/year, with additional estimated capacity of about 2 million SWU/year under construction. (The World Nuclear Association estimated that China had a total enrichment capacity of 2.2 million SWU/year in 2014.)  If these new estimates are correct, China has enough enrichment capacity to meet its nuclear power fuel requirements for the coming decade and beyond. Further, China will have excess enrichment capacity and will likely become a net exporter of commercial enrichment services. The development of China’s enrichment capacity has been consistent with the government’s stated policy of “self-sufficiency” and “targeting the international markets” in the supply of enrichment services.

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For Academic Citation: Zhang, Hui. “China's Uranium Enrichment Capacity: Rapid Expansion to Meet Commercial Needs.” Managing the Atom Project, Belfer Center, August 20, 2015.