Russia's TVEL, Kazakhstan's Kazatomprom and Ukraine's national nuclear energy company NAEK, under the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Ministry, have jointly set up an enterprise to produce fuel assemblies for Ukraine's reactors. Each of the founders has an equal share of 33.3% in the venture.
Kazatomprom will convert fuel into pellets at the Ulba Metal Plant in east Kazakhstan, TVEL will produce the assemblies and NAEK will produce zirconium for them. The venture hopes to supply all of Ukraine's nuclear power stations. Ukraine's demand for fuel pellets is estimated at about 300,000 a year. The Ulba Metal Plant has the capacity to produce between 1000 and 1500 a year. The joint venture's main task is to improve fuel in order to improve the efficiency of nuclear power stations.