Kazakh, USA join forces in nuclear fuel supply

21 October 2015

KazAtomProm and Centrus Energy have signed a memorandum of cooperation that "specifies the development of mutually beneficial relations on competitive supplies of Kazakhstan's uranium to the world market", the Kazakh state-run company said today.

KazAtomProm-Centrus - 460 (KazAtomProm)
Zhumagaliyev and Alldred sign the cooperation agreement (Image: Kazatomprom)

The document was signed by KazAtomProm chairman Askar Zhumagaliyev and Centrus Energy senior vice-president Kevin Alldred during Zhumagaliyev's official visit to the USA.

KazAtomProm is the world's biggest uranium producer, while Bethesda, Maryland-based Centrus Energy supplies enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the USA and around the world.

KazAtomProm said that, during his trip, Zhumagaliyev will meet with the president and CEO of Westinghouse Electric Company, Danny Roderick, and the president of Cameco, Tim Gitzel. Zhumagaliyev will then invite companies to take part in the Astana EXPO-2017 conference and exhibition to be held from 10 June to 10 September 2017.

He will hold a number of business meetings with companies engaged in the nuclear energy sector and visit the site of a nuclear reactor under construction "to become acquainted with" Westinghouse's work on fuel assembly production, KazAtomProm said. It did not say which reactor Zhumagaliyev would visit.

KazAtomProm said last week that it plans to follow the example of other major uranium mining companies and create a trading subsidiary as part of its "transformation" strategy.

Zhumagaliyev said the company plans "to become the leading supplier of natural uranium on the world market, to diversify production at the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle, in particular, to start production of fuel assemblies".

A former deputy minister for investment and development, Zhumagaliyev was appointed the new head of KazAtomProm in May.

Kazakhstan became the leading supplier of uranium to US nuclear power plants in 2014, overtaking Australia, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). According to the EIA's Uranium Marketing Annual Report, published in May, of the uranium purchased by US reactor owners and operators, 23% was of Kazakh origin, while 20% came from Australia and 18% from Canada.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News