you're reading...
Mining & Energy

Radioactive coal ash from mines near uranium deposits falls on China cities

Huge newly discovered reserves of much-needed uranium are in danger of being destroyed amid a row over digging it up.

And as China‘s nuclear and coal sectors battle over the sites where the radioactive heavy metal lies buried, experts say the uranium is accidentally ending up in coal-fired power stations – creating radioactive ash that is falling on surrounding cities.

One Canadian firm that declined to be interviewed has built a plant near one coal-fired power station in Yunnan to collect the uranium from the ash.

With the world’s largest number of nuclear power plants under construction, China is in desperate need of uranium ore to fuel them.

Currently, domestic supply is limited to some low-grade mines formed by ancient volcano eruptions in southern and central provinces such as Sichuan and Hunan. However, state geologists now believe there could be tens of thousands of tons of uranium in the basins of northern China.

The deposits in Ili in Xinjiang and Erdos in Inner Mongolia were described as “world-class” and “mega-sized” in recent reports by state media.

The problem is these rich veins of uranium are buried between thick belts of coal.

Song Xuebin, former head of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)’s 821 Factory that produces uranium fuel, has filed a complaint with the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

He alleged the coal mines were encroaching on the uranium deposits. “These basins contained oil, gas, coal and uranium,” he wrote. “Due to its large scale and high speed of construction, coal mining will soon bring huge destruction to uranium resources. It will also cause the environment to suffer radioactive pollution.”

Professor Gu Zhongmao, of the China Institute of Atomic Energy and a top adviser to CNNC, said that balancing the interests of the two different energy sectors was proving a headache for the central government.

In the mean time, the government has been importing as much uranium as possible from countries such as Kazakhstan and Australia, while apparently leaving the domestic deposits for future use.

“The problem is that if we leave those deposits there, they will soon be destroyed by coal mining,” warned Gu. “It is not unlikely that the bulk of Chinese uranium reserves end up in the furnaces of coal-fired power plants instead of in nuclear reactors.

“When that happens, the enormous amount of radioactive ash becomes a threat to everyone’s safety,” he said.

The environmental hazards caused by radioactive ash has been kept quiet.

Yin Lianqing, environment professor at North China Electric Power University, said that he conducted some tests in a few cities to monitor the radiation levels in neighbourhoods near coal-fired power plants, and got alarming results.

“We have found some instances of very high exposure, hundreds of times higher than what you would expect near a nuclear power plant. I asked the cities’ environmental protection authorities to take immediate measures to reduce residents’ exposure, such as adding dust-removing devices to the power plants, but they demanded I keep my mouth shut, or I would be held responsible for causing social panic.”

It was the presence of high levels of uranium in coal that led to the discovery of the rich seams of uranium. In 2003, the Ministry of Science and Technology funded a national research project led by professor Liu Chiyang of the Northwest University in Xian, Shaanxi, to solve the mystery.

The research was deemed crucial to China’s national security, and accordingly many researchers involved in the project, including Liu, declined to be interviewed by the SCMP.

According to a 2006 paper published in the mainland academic journal Oil and Gas Geology, Liu’s team confirmed that nearly all the uranium and coal deposits in north China had formed at the same time. The researchers came up with several theories to explain the co-location phenomenon.

Source: SCMP “Coal mines near uranium deposits spoiling value of nuclear fuel”

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee


3 thoughts on “Radioactive coal ash from mines near uranium deposits falls on China cities

  1. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)


    Posted by OyiaBrown | November 19, 2012, 5:40 pm


  1. Pingback: China’s Dream Team — MY COMMENT | JBS News - November 30, 2012

  2. Pingback: China ‘UFO’ may have been the fourth of China’s midcourse ICBM interception tests | China Daily Mail - May 31, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

China News

China News is not affiliated in any way with any publication in China or anywhere else.

Enter your email address to receive an email each time an article is published, or join our RSS feed. 100% FREE.

Join 3,842 other followers

Want to write for China News?

Read “Contributor Guidelines” above to join our team of 84 contributors. Write news or opinion about issues in China, or post photos and video. Promote your own site.

Recent Posts

China News Articles Have Been Featured In:

%d bloggers like this: