Naperville, IL -- (SBWIRE) -- 03/04/2013 -- Since the sodium metal industry features high energy consumption, manufacturers in developed countries halt the production, including such industrial leaders as America-based Dupont, France-based Masa and some Russia-based producers. In China, by contrast, major sodium metal enterprises are expanding their capacities and, many start-ups emerge, helping worldwide sodium capacity be transferred to China in phases. Currently, the sodium metal capacity of China has exceeded 100,000 tons, more than the market demand.
China is not only a big producer of sodium metal, but also a big consumer. In 2006, the demand for sodium metal in China hit 82,000 tons, and then in 2010 the figure was close to 100,000 tons. China’s demand for sodium metal is expected to drive up due to the increasing consumption worldwide as well as the skyrocketing development of domestic atomic energy industry.
By application, sodium metal is principally applied in indigo fuel, pharmaceuticals, pesticide, rare and precious metal smelting and nuclear industries. In particular, Indigo fuel is the key consumer, consuming 60% of sodium metal.
The development of nuclear power industry has in recent years fueled the demand for nuclear-grade sodium which features higher specific heat than vast majority of metals and good thermal insulation properties and serves as an ideal coolant for fast reactors. Thus far, fast reactors worldwide in service, including Phenix, Super-Phenix, Russian BN-600 and Chinese CEFR, all employ nuclear-grade sodium as coolant.
It is expected that the demand for nuclear-grade sodium will show explosive growth with the application of the fourth generation nuclear power technology. In the upcoming three to five years, the demand for nuclear-grade sodium will mainly be contributed by two fast reactors- Fujian Sanming and Russian BN-1200, with the targeted demand hitting 8,000 tons and 6,000 tons, respectively.
Inner Mongolia Lantai Industrial, the sole Chinese company with nuclear-grade sodium production technology, has provided roughly 350 tons of nuclear-grade sodium for CEFR.
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