A joint venture between Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine to produce nuclear fuel made further headway with the approval of the company's draft agreement by Ukraine's cabinet of ministers on 17 August. The agreement outlines plans for cooperation among the three countries for the development and operation of the joint venture as a closed joint-stock company.
The joint venture was first proposed in 1996 and officially established in October 2001. Shares in the company were divided equally between Russia's TVEL, Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom and Ukraine's State Property Fund. The venture, which will become a fully-fledged stock company in 2005, has a charter capital of $450 million.
Russia will undertake the enrichment of uranium and produce fuel assemblies at either Novosibirsk or at the Elektrostal plant near Moscow. Ukrainian companies Tsirkoni and Vostochny GOK (both from the Dnepropetrovsk region) will also take part.
For its contribution, Kazakhstan's Ulba Metallurgy Plant, which is part of Kazatomprom and one of the largest producers of nuclear fuel in the Commonwealth of Independent States, will produce uranium pellets.