ENEC and Kazatomprom sign commercial uranium contract

04 December 2023

Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom has signed its first commercial uranium fuel supply contract with the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), for the United Arab Emirates' Barakah nuclear power plant.

(Image: Kazatomprom)

The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the United Nations' COP28 climate change conference taking place in Dubai, during the official visit of Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (pictured centre, above).

Kazatomprom said in a statement announcing the contract that it "will serve as a new impetus for cooperation between nuclear companies of both countries, and will also open a new country in the sales geography of Kazatomprom", adding: "The scope and commercial terms of the contract are confidential and commercially sensitive and are not subject to public disclosure."

ENEC's CEO Mohamed Al Hammadi said: "ENEC has a comprehensive strategy for fuel management at Barakah, signing contracts back in 2012 with a number of global suppliers to ensure a sustainable and secure fuel supply. Signing this agreement with Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan, as the largest uranium producer globally, is strategically important for ENEC in further diversifying and securing fuel supplies. With a significant positive shift in many nations to include civil nuclear energy as part of their energy mix, security of supply for fuel is paramount. Adding Kazamtomprom only boosts our roster of fuel partners further, ensuring a sustainable fuel supply for the generation of clean, 24/7 electricity, and our plans for generation of clean heat, steam and clean molecules like hydrogen, to decarbonise energy-intensive and heavy industry in the UAE and oversees."

Kazatomprom CEO Meirzhan Yussupov said: "We are proud that the first ever commercial contract between Kazatomprom and ENEC will mark the beginning of valuable and promising cooperation between our companies. We are excited to add the UAE to the nations to whom we supply, and appreciate the recognition of Kazatomprom with its exceptional supply track record and sustainable market reputation as a part of the UAE’s energy security and net-zero agenda. We hope our partnership will only strengthen in the future resulting in new contracts for the reliable supplies of natural uranium for the Barakah Nuclear Energy Plant."

Work to construct four Korean-designed APR-1400 units at Barakah began in 2012. The first unit started up and was connected to the grid in August 2020 and began commercial operation in April 2021; unit 2 was grid-connected in September 2021 and began commercial operation in March 2022; unit 3 entered commercial operation in February this year and unit 4 received its operating licence last month, clearing the way for commissioning and commercial operation of the unit.

The three units at the plant already operating provided more than 80% of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi's clean electricity consumption in December 2022, ENEC said, and when complete, the four-unit plant is expected to meet up to 25% of the UAE's electricity demand.

ENEC says that is now looking to to "capitalise on the expertise it has gained to look at opportunities for further large-scale plant development, advanced reactors, R&D and clean molecules, heat and steam generation, both in the UAE and through investments and partnerships overseas".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News