Energoatom sends first batch of Ukrainian-mined uranium to Canada

18 September 2023

The first batch of uranium mined at the Eastern Mining and Enrichment Plant in Ukraine has been sent to Canada where it will be converted into natural uranium hexafluoride as part of the company's agreement with Cameco.

South Ukraine nuclear power plant is one of those within the agreement (Image: Energoatom)

Energoatom President Petro Kotin said: "The agreement with our strategic partner Cameco provides for the supply of the entire volume of uranium mined at the Eastern Mining and Processing Plant (SkhidGZK) to Canada and its further conversion into natural uranium hexafluoride (UF6). Such a process is necessary to prepare for dispatching it for enrichment to our other strategic partners - Urenco, and then to Westinghouse for nuclear fuel manufacture. Such nuclear material processing is not available in Ukraine yet. But we are working on creating the appropriate capacities."

Energoatom and Cameco signed bilateral contracts earlier this year. In March, the first one was for Cameco meeting 100% of Energoatom's need for natural uranium hexafluoride from 2024 to 2035 for the nine nuclear reactors at the Rivne, Khmelnitsky and South Ukraine plants for the duration of the contract. These plants have combined requirements over the contract term of some 15.3 million kgU as UF6 - equivalent to 40.1 million pounds U3O8 (15,424 tU).

The second agreement covered the sale of Ukrainian uranium to Canada, with conversion of the uranium being provided by Cameco. April's Agreement for weighing, sampling, storage, analysis and transportation of uranium oxide concentrate was signed in Canada by Kotin and Cameco President and CEO Tim Gitzel in the presence of Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal. It covered the physical delivery of uranium oxide from Ukraine to Canada, providing for the entire quantity of uranium mined by Ukraine's SkhidGZK to be supplied to Canada and for conversion and supply of natural uranium hexafluoride for enrichment.

Energoatom, which has ended any use of Russian nuclear fuel since the start of the war last year, has been diversifying its fuel supply and ultimately aims to create a complete nuclear fuel cycle in the country.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News