Russia confirms supplies of enriched uranium to China

Russia is supplying China with highly enriched uranium, which could allow Beijing to match the US in terms of nuclear capability.

TVEL, a subsidiary of the state corporation Rosatom, is responsible for fuel exports. The company has received a three-year license from the Russian authorities to export fuel destined for the CFR-600 nuclear power plant in Xiapu in southeastern Fujian province. China Morning fast

The design of the station called for two fast neutron reactors of 600 megawatts each. The first of them is to be launched at the end of this year, the publication explains.

Deliveries from Russia to China began in September, and three deliveries of fuel have been delivered by early 2023. Nuclear News. These are highly enriched uranium with a concentration of just over 30% uranium-235.

Fast neutron reactors require more than 20% uranium-235, while nuclear weapons typically contain around 90% uranium-235 and plutonium.

In late February, the United States became concerned about nuclear fuel shipments from Russia to China. The Pentagon thought this could be the beginning of a new arms race, Bloomberg wrote. citing a source in the military department.

According to the US, from September to December 2022, Russia exported 25,000 to China. kg of enriched uranium. As a result, deliveries to the CFR-600 reactor turned out to be larger than anything the United States and the IAEA have taken over the last three decades worldwide, Bloomberg noted.

Already this year, the CFR-600 will start producing plutonium for military purposes, which will allow Beijing to catch up with Russia and the United States in terms of nuclear arsenals, the US Department of Defense said in a report. At the same time, the agency directly linked the increase in China’s nuclear potential to Russia’s withdrawal from the strategic arms treaty with the United States.

China has not reported its plutonium stockpile to the IAEA since 2017. At the same time, Beijing says fast neutron reactors are part of a plan to develop a closed nuclear fuel cycle to reduce fuel shortages. The issue of uranium supplies was discussed by Chinese President Xi Jinping with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his March visit to Moscow.


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