Japan and Kazakhstan have signed an agreement to cooperate in the peaceful uses of nuclear power. Meanwhile, Romania's president has said the country is open to cooperation with Kazakhstan, including in nuclear energy.
The agreement was signed on 2 March in Tokyo by Akylbek Kamaldinov, Kazakhstan's ambassador in Japan, and Katsuya Okada, Japan's minister of foreign affairs. The signing of the agreement follows agreements reached during a visit by Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev to Japan in 2008.
'The agreement is the basic document for the development of cooperation between the two countries in the field of nuclear energy, implementation of which will further strengthen the strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and Japan,' the Kazakh ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement.
Japan's ministry of foreign affairs said, 'The signing of this agreement will make possible a stable uranium supply from Kazakhstan and ensure that material and related technologies are legally transferred from Japan to Kazakhstan for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, which is expected to strengthen cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy between the two countries.'
Japan and Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of cooperation in nuclear energy during an August 2006 visit to Kazakhstan by then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. In April 2007, a number of high-level agreements on energy cooperation were signed with Japan. These included some relating to uranium supply to Japan, and technical assistance to Kazakhstan in relation to fuel cycle developments and nuclear reactor construction. KazAtomProm is keen to move from being a supplier of raw materials to selling its uranium as fabricated fuel assemblies. It said that it aimed to supply 40% of the Japanese market for both natural uranium and fabricated fuel from 2010 - about 4000 tU per year. Negotiations then commenced for a bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement between Kazakhstan and Japan.
In August 2007, Toshiba announced that it will buy a minority interest in the Kharasan uranium project in Kazakhstan, becoming the fifth Japanese company to participate in the project.
In January 2008, KazAtomProm signed an agreement with Japanese utility Kansai to provide components of nuclear fuel for Kansai's 11 nuclear power reactors in Japan. Under existing alliances, a facility at the Ulba complex to make full fuel assemblies is due to be completed in 2011-2012, with Toshiba-Westinghouse acting as technical partner, while Ulba could also expand to carry out conversion of Kazakh-mined uranium for the enrichment stage that comes before pellet fabrication.
Romania seeks cooperation
Meanwhile, Romanian President Traian Basescu has said that Romania could be a partner in the industrial development of Kazakhstan.
"Categorically, both countries need to develop their bilateral relationship. Romania can benefit from energy resources and the raw materials required for the production of nuclear fuel for nuclear reactors," he said in a Financiarul.ro report. Basescu added, "On the other hand, Romania can be a partner in the industrial development of Kazakhstan, in the area of oil equipment, nuclear equipment and energy equipment in general."
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News