Kazakhstan’s national atomic company Kazatomprom and and China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) have signed agreement for a fuel fabrication project in Kazakhstan. The agreement covers the commercial terms and conditions of design and construction of a fuel assembly fabrication plant in Kazakhstan and joint development of uranium deposits in Kazakhstan.

The agreement was signed during the official visit to China of Kazakhstan prime minister Karim Masimov. It provides for development of a fuel plant with a capacity of 200t a year at the Ulba Metallurgical Plant in Ust Kamenogorsk. It will supply fuel to Chinese nuclear power reactors, Kazatomprom said in a statement.

In addition, a trilateral protocol of intentions was signed between Kazatomprom, China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and CITIC Group Corporation regarding the cooperation development including establishment of a working group to identify "the possibilities and ways of trilateral cooperation in different areas of activity."

Kazakhstan signed a framework strategic cooperation agreement with CNNC in September 2007 followed in October 2008 with another on "long-term nuclear cooperation projects" under which CNNC was to invest in a uranium mine. Also in 2007 signed an agreement with both CGN and CNNC for them to take a 49% stake in two uranium joint ventures and supply 2000tU a year from them.

In October 2008, Kazatomprom signed a cooperation agreement with CGN on the joint development of uranium resources, production of nuclear fuel, the long-term trade of natural uranium, nuclear power generation and the construction of NPPs. Another agreement signed at that time with CNNC focuses on the implementation of long-term nuclear cooperation projects.

In 2010, CGN signed a long-term contract with Kazatomprom for the supply of 24,200tU up to 2020. Kazatomprom estimates that 20% of its uranium output goes to China, with the possibility of this increasing with demand as annual production heads for 25,000tU.

Photo: Yellowcake (Credit Kazatomprom)