China is pursuing an ambitious plan to triple its nuclear energy output by 2020, from 2% of the country’s total energy supply to 6%. Beijing’s nuclear power agenda is part of the government’s broader agenda to reduce carbon emissions that is contributing to staggeringly high-levels of pollution in many of China’s largest cities. To do so, the Chinese have embarked on a nuclear reactor building spree with some 20 new plants currently in development.
If China is going to rely more on nuclear power as part of its renewable energy strategy then it is also going to have to find a reliable supply of uranium to power all of these new reactors. Not surprisingly, Chinese energy officials have set their sights on Africa, specifically two of the world’s largest sources of uranium in Niger and Namibia.
Until now there has been relatively little research done on the impact that Chinese investment is having in Niger and Namibia’s uranium mining sectors. Harvard doctoral student Peter Volberding and Dr. Jason Warner recently published a paper on the issue that examines whether the massive Chinese investments are potentially eroding sovereignty in these two African countries? Peter joins Eric & Cobus to discuss why there is not a simple answer to this complex question.
- China-Africa Research Initiative: China and uranium: comparative possibilities for agency in statecraft in Niger and Namibia by Peter Volberding and Jason Warner
- Mining.com: China demand driving renaissance of global uranium market
About Peter Volberding
Political science doctoral candidate at Harvard University with specific expertise in Chinese foreign policy, international relations, and international economic development. More specifically interested in the evolving roles and activities of national development banks (NDBs)–particularly in Germany, Brazil, and China–in the post WWII international economy, as well as the increasing use of financial instruments in development.