Kazakhstan’s nuclear atomic company Kazatomprom said on 2 September that a plant to manufacture fuel assemblies for Chinese NPPs would be commissioned in 2019. In December 2015 Kazatomprom and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) signed an agreement on the commercial terms of design and construction of a fuel assembly plant in Kazakhstan to supply fuel to Chinese NPPs. The plant, with a capacity of 200t of fuel assemblies a year will be established at Kazatomprom’s Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMZ).
Since 2006 Kazatomprom and CGNPC have cooperated on joint mining of uranium deposits in Kazakhstan through the joint venture TOO Semizbai-U and the supply of natural uranium and production of uranium pellets. Kazatomprom has supplied fuel pellets to China as part of the long-term contract with CGNPC since 2011. During an official visit by Kazakh prime minister Karim Massimov to China in December 2015, agreements were signed relating to the commercial terms for the fuel assembly plant and development of uranium projects.
The latest documents were signed by UMZ and CGNPC Uranium Resources Corporation Ltd during Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's state visit to China. They defined the timeline and amount of fuel pellet production at 180 tU for 2016-2018 and detailed procedures for their delivery. They also specified the amount of UMZ-made pellets which would be bought up to 2024, Kazatomprom’s statement said.