First Australian yellowcake arrives in Russia

08 November 2012

The first consignment of natural uranium from Australia has arrived in Russia five years after the two nations signed a bilateral agreement enabling such trade to take place.

Russian fuel cycle company Techsnabexport (Tenex) announced the arrival of the trial consignment, transported by sea to St Petersburg. The uranium was delivered under a contract signed by Tenex and Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) in June and will be processed at the Siberian Chemical Combine. After conversion and enrichment, the low-enriched uranium will be supplied by Tenex to an unnamed foreign utility.

TENEX acting director general Lyudmila Zalimskaya described the contract, the size of which was not disclosed, as "relatively small, but very important", giving a "green light" for Australian natural uranium to be used as feed material for enrichment contracts between Western utilities and Tenex.

The bilateral safeguards agreement signed in 2007 by the Russian and Australian premiers and ratified in 2010 paved the way for the use of Australian uranium in Russian fuel contracts, including its use to fuel Russian reactors. Prior to this, Australian-origin uranium could only be processed in Russia in the interest of third-party countries.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear news