Kazakhstan's nuclear fuel company, Kazatomprom, has delivered to China a second batch of low enriched uranium fuel totalling more than 30 tonnes manufactured by the Ulba-FA Kazakh-Chinese joint venture. Ulba-FA began operation in November 2021, after it was certified by the owner of the AFA 3G fuel assembly production technology, French Framatome, and recognised as a certified nuclear fuel supplier by the end user, China General Nuclear Power’s CGNPC-URC. The joint venture was founded by Ulba Metallurgical Plant (a subsidiary of Kazatomprom, which has a 51% stake) and CGNPC-URC, which has a 49% stake.
An acceptance ceremony of the fuel took place at China’s Fangchengang NPP. Ulba FA plans to increase production in 2024 to its rated capacity of 200 tonnes a year. The plant has a guaranteed market for the next 20 years. The Ulba-FA delivered the first batch of fuel assemblies for Chinese NPPs in December 2022. A number of additional shipments are planned this year.
"Our countries have many years of experience co-operating in the nuclear industry. Kazatomprom and CGN are strategic partners with a wide range of interactions, said Kazatomprom CEO Yerzhan Mukanov. “We have implemented a number of successful projects for uranium mining, production of fuel pellets and fuel assemblies. We are proud that Kazakhstan's nuclear fuel will meet the needs of China's nuclear power industry… Thanks to our cooperation, Kazatomprom is acquiring new experience to become a supplier of an integrated package of services – from the production of natural uranium oxide to the production and sale of the final products of the pre-reactor nuclear fuel cycle in the form of fuel assemblies.”
Dosbolat Sarymsakov, Chief Nuclear Fuel Cycle Officer of Kazatomprom, said he was pleased to note the increasing dynamics of cooperation between the companies in the field of the nuclear fuel cycle. All our achievements are the result of the fruitful work of the Kazakh-Chinese team. I am confident that we will continue to strengthen and expand all areas of mutually beneficial partnership. We thank all our colleagues who have made a significant contribution to the successful implementation of this project," at the ceremony.
Image: The Kazakh-Chinese delegation (courtesy of Kazatomprom)