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"China's Spent Nuclear Fuel Management: Current Practices and Future Strategies"

A Chinese boy tries out a nuclear power simulator at the Wuhan Science and Technology Museum in Wuhan, Hubei province, 19 Feb. 2010. China's energy planners said they aim to have 40 reactors by 2020.
AP Photo

"China's Spent Nuclear Fuel Management: Current Practices and Future Strategies"

Journal Article, Energy Policy, volume 39, issue 7, pages 4360-4369


Author: Yun Zhou, Former Associate, Project on Managing the Atom (MTA), 2013–2014; Former Research Fellow, International Security Program (ISP)/MTA, 2011–2013; Former Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow, ISP/MTA, 2010–2011; Former Research Fellow, ISP/MTA, 2009–2010

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: International Security; Managing the Atom; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



Although China's nuclear power industry is relatively young and the management of its spent nuclear fuel is not yet a concern, China’s commitment to nuclear energy and its rapid pace of development require detailed analyses of its future spent fuel management policies. The purpose of this study is to provide an overview of China's fuel cycle program and its reprocessing policy, and to suggest strategies for managing its future fuel cycle program. The study is broken into four sections. The first reviews China's current nuclear fuel cycle program and facilities. The second discusses China's current spent fuel management methods and the storage capability of China's 13 operational nuclear power plants. The third estimates China's total accumulated spent fuel, its required spent fuel storage from present day until 2035, when China expects its first commercialized fast neutron reactors to be operational, and its likely demand for uranium resources. The fourth examines several spent fuel management scenarios for the present period up until 2035; the financial cost and proliferation risk of each scenario is evaluated. The study concludes that China can and should maintain a reprocessing operation to meet its R&D activities before its fast reactor program is further developed.


For more information about this publication please contact the MTA Program Assistant at 617-495-4219.

For Academic Citation:

Zhou, Yun. "China's Spent Nuclear Fuel Management: Current Practices and Future Strategies." Energy Policy 39, no. 7 (2011): 4360-4369.

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