China to prioritize natural gas and nuclear energy development
    BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- China plans to diversify its energy supply to increase natural gas and nuclear power in a bid to meet increasing demand. 
    Zhou Dadi, head of the Energy Research Institute under the State Development and Reforms Commission made the comment on Monday at the annual academic congress of the Chinese Association for Science and Technology in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. 
    Xinhua quoted him as saying that China will encourage the exploitation of natural gas including international oilfields, nuclear power and other new sorts of energies to balance supply structures. 
    The scholar said that energy shortages, surging prices and the frequency of coalmine accidents remind people that China has entered the stage of speedy energy development. The country will have to diversify its energy supply to avoid relying on coal as the major fuel. 
    It is reported that China's coal consumption of two billion tons made-up 67% of energy supplies in 2004. The country also imported 120 million tons of oil, 35% of the total fuel supply. 
    Compared to other countries, China has lagged in the exploitation of natural gas. The annual consumption of natural gas in the US and Europe is about 600 billion cubic meters, while Russia uses 400 billion cubic meters a year. But China has used only about 41.5 billion cubic meters in a year. 
    The Xinhua report says Xu Daqing, an academic who specializes in nuclear energy, believes that in the coming 30 years, wind energy, solar energy and other forms of power will not become major sources of energy supplies in China. 
    He suggested that nuclear power development would be on the fast track as China has the capacity in the design, construction and operation of nuclear power plants on the basis of self-reliance. He expects China to produce 20% of its energy requirement from nuclear sources by 2035, compared to the current level of 0.02%.