Record year for Kazakh uranium

01 February 2011

Kazakhstan's annual uranium production has doubled since 2008, according to preliminary uranium production results released by national atomic company Kazatomprom.


Kazakh yellowcake (Image: Kazatomprom)
Kazakh yellowcake (Image: Kazatomprom)


The 17,803 tU produced by Kazakhstan in 2010 was nearly 30% up on the 14,020 tU produced in 2009 and double the amount produced in 2008. Uranium sales for the company, excluding subsidiaries and joint ventures, amounted to 9000 tU for the year, and revenue from uranium was also up by 30% on 2009 figures, Kazatomprom said.
At the end of 2010 Kazatomprom's portfolio of orders was worth about $17 billion, and the company expects net income for the year to be around 53 billion Tenge ($360 million), 24% up on 2009. The increase is attributed to the growth in uranium sales volume.
Kazakhstan became the world's foremost uranium producer in 2009, when it was responsible for almost 28% of world uranium production. Kazatomprom's strategic goals remain firmly focused on maintaining a lead position in the world uranium market, as well as diversifying its activities across the whole nuclear fuel cycle through foreign joint ventures. To that end, the company undertook a host of initiatives during 2010 and has detailed progress in uranium conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication.
In the field of uranium conversion, Kazatomprom notes the signature of a memorandum of understanding with Canada's Cameco covering the development of a refinery at its Ulba Metallurgical Plant subsidiary and expansion of uranium conversion capacity at the Springfields plant in the UK, where Cameco has a toll-processing agreement. Meanwhile, it is moving forward with plans to take a stake in the Ural Electrochemical Plant enrichment facility in Russia, and expects to complete a deal to acquire shares in the plant during the coming year. An agreement signed with France's Areva in October 2010 saw the establishment of a 51% Kazatomprom-owned joint venture to build a 400 tonne per year fuel fabrication line at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant, due to start operation in 2014.
2010 also saw the completion of a certification process allowing Kazatomprom to produce fuel pellets for use in Areva designed reactors around the world, as well as separate certifications enabling it to supply fuel pellets to Japanese and Chinese plants.
Kazatomprom says it plans to implement "several investment projects" worth over 341 billion Tenge ($2.3 billion) over the next five years.
Researched and written

by World Nuclear News