Kazatomprom strategises with China

15 October 2007

Memoranda have been signed that could see a large portion of China's uranium fuel needs met by Kazakhstan. They stipulate that uranium extracted by joint ventures would be delivered as 'high value added' products.

The documents signed recently in September in Beijing, China form a Framework Agreement for Pushing Forward of Strategic Cooperation, according to a Kazatomprom announcement. They lay the groundwork for future joint venture projects to extract Kazakh uranium from the ground and for Kazatomprom to invest in the Chinese nuclear power industry.

Kazatomprom President Moukhtar Dzhakishev signed the paperwork with top executives from China National Nuclear Corporation and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company. Between them the Chinese companies make up the bulk of the country's current nuclear industry and have 28 new reactors under contruction or in various stages of planning for operation after 2015.

State-owned Kazatomprom is a major producer of uranium, supplying about 9% of the world's current needs. However, the country holds 16% of the world's uranium resources and plans to increase mine production accordingly. It also is planning to develop the front-end nuclear fuel facilities that would allow it to produce finished nuclear fuel assemblies, adding a great deal of value to its natural resource. The recent agreements stipulate that "all natural uranium produced by joint Kazakhstani-Chinese enterprises will be delivered to China in the form of high value-added nuclear fuel products."

These are the latest in a series of agreements between the countries, following a December 2006 strategic agreement and a May 2007 accord on uranium supply and fuel fabrication. Kazakhstan has also signed a number of alliances with Japanese companies eager to gain secure access to uranium and participate in Kazatomprom's expansion.

Further information

Kazatomprom

WNA's Nuclear Power in China information paper
WNA's Uranium Nuclear Power in Kazakhstan information paper

WNN: Japanese seek confidence of uranium supply

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