Kazakh-Chinese talks build on cooperation agreements

18 July 2016

The heads of Kazakh uranium producer KazAtomProm and China's CITIC Group have met to discuss attracting investment to the Central Asian country's nuclear energy sector. Askar Zhumagaliyev and Chang Zhenming met as part of the working visit to China of Kazakhstan's first deputy prime minister, Bakytzhan Sagintayev.

CITIC Group, formerly the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, is a state-owned investment company established in 1979.

The talks build on agreements KazAtomProm signed with Chinese companies at the end of last year. These include one for the development of Kazakh uranium mines and the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Kazakhstan. During an official visit by Kazakh prime minister Karim Massimov to China, commercial terms agreements were signed between KazAtomProm and China General Nuclear (CGN) for the fuel assembly plant and development of uranium projects. The agreements were signed on 14 December by KazAtomProm's Zhumagaliyev and CGN CEO Zhang Shanming.

Under the agreement for setting up a fuel assembly production plant, a facility based on the existing Ulba Metallurgical Plant is to be built with a capacity for 200 tonnes per year. It will supply fuel to Chinese nuclear power reactors, KazAtomProm said in a statement. Separately, KazAtomProm signed a trilateral agreement of intent with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and CITIC Group to extend their cooperation.

During the visit to China, Zhumagaliyev also met with the chairman of China National Nuclear Corporation, Sun Qin, and the director general of CITIC Group in Kazakhstan, Sun Yang.

KazAtomProm said today: "The parties discussed a number of issues of mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of atomic power development. Particularly, such issues as natural uranium transit from Kazakhstan through the territory of China, fuel pellets supplies to China, joint uranium mining, conversion plant construction in the Republic of Kazakhstan [and] application of nuclear technologies in medicine were considered. [They] noted they are interested in a mutually beneficial long-term and strategic partnership."

Zhumagaliyev visited the conversion plant in Hengyang, Hunan province, where he had the opportunity to learn about China's production of uranium hexafluoride, KazAtomProm said.

Late in 2007, KazAtomProm signed an agreement with both CGN and CNNC for them to take a 49% stake in two uranium mine joint ventures and supply 2000 tU per year from them.

More than half of KazAtomProm's uranium output is exported to China, with the possibility of this increasing with demand as annual production heads for 25,000 tU.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News