KazAtomProm and ConverDyn join forces in UF6 supply

04 April 2016

KazAtomProm and ConverDyn have signed an agreement whereby the world's largest uranium producer and the "leading provider" of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion services will jointly and immediately offer uranium in the form of natural UF6 to global utilities. UF6 is the natural uranium feedstock for the enrichment step in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Kazatomprom-Converdyn - 460 (Kazatomprom)
Critchley (left) and Zhumagaliyev sign the agreement (Image: Kazatomprom)

The agreement, announced today, was signed by Askar Zhumagaliyev, KazAtomProm CEO, and Malcolm Critchley, president and CEO of ConverDyn.

The state-run Kazakh uranium producer said: "The combined strengths of these two industry leaders will provide a competitive and reliable integrated source of UF6 to the nuclear industry at a time when global requirements are forecasted to steadily increase with the growth of nuclear energy."

Zhumagaliyev added that the agreement would "take the scope of our cooperation to a new level". It enables KazAtomProm to access new markets with a further integrated product offering, he said, adding, "The ability to match our uranium capabilities with a respected supplier like ConverDyn will pay dividends for both companies."

Critchley said the two companies' capabilities and objectives were "perfectly aligned and complementary".

He added: "As the largest uranium producer in the world and a significant supplier of uranium ore concentrates to the Metropolis conversion facility, KazAtomProm is a natural strategic fit for ConverDyn. By combining our products and expertise we will add value and increased supply options to our customers".

Kazakhstan has 12% of the world's uranium resources and an expanding mining sector, producing about 23,800 tonnes in 2015, and planning for further increase to 2018. In 2009 KazAtomProm became the world's leading uranium producer - after Canadian Cameco and French Areva - with almost 28% of world production. For comparison, Canada and Australia accounted for 16% and 11%.

In 2010, Kazakhstan accounted for 33% of world uranium production, which rose to 41% in 2014.

Set up in 1997, KazAtomProm controls all of Kazakhstan's uranium exploration and mining as well as other nuclear-related activities, including imports and exports of nuclear materials. It announced in 2008 that it aims to supply 30% of the world uranium by 2015, and through joint ventures: 12% of uranium conversion market, 6% of enrichment, and 30% of the fuel fabrication market by then. KazAtomProm has more than 27,000 employees.

Zhumagaliyev, Kazakhstan's former deputy minister for investment and development, was appointed the new CEO of KazAtomProm in May 2015.

ConverDyn, a partnership between General Atomics and Honeywell, says it supplies over 60% of global nuclear power plants from the world's largest UF6 conversion facility in Metropolis, Illinois, USA.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News