China and Kazakhstan cement fuel pellet deal

05 September 2016

China and Kazakhstan have taken a step closer to the supply of Kazakh fuel pellets to Chinese companies. The relevant documents enabling such transactions are between Ulba Metallurgical Plant (UMP), a subsidiary of Kazakh uranium producer KazAtomProm, and CGNPC-URC, a subsidiary of China General Nuclear (CGN).

China-Kazakhstan - September 2016 - 400 (KazAtomProm)
Shakhvorostov and Yusheng signing the agreements in the presence of Zhumagaliyev and Shanmin (Image: KazAtomProm)

Signed during Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev's state visit to China, these follow agreements KazAtomProm signed with Chinese companies at the end of last year. These included one for the development of Kazakh uranium mines and the construction of a nuclear fuel plant in Kazakhstan. During an official visit by Kazakh prime minister Karim Massimov to China, commercial terms agreements were signed on 14 December between KazAtomProm and CGN for the fuel assembly plant and development of uranium projects.

Under the agreement for setting up a fuel assembly production plant, a facility based on the existing UMP is to be built with a capacity for 200 tonnes per year. It will supply fuel to Chinese nuclear power reactors.

Announcing the latest development today, KazAtomProm said the signing ceremony had been attended by its chairman, Askar Zhumagaliyev, CGN president Zhang Shanmin, UMP chairman Yuri Shakhvorostov and CGNPC-URC deputy general manager Cai Yusheng.

Kazakhstan will supply 180 tonnes of nuclear fuel pellets to Chinese utilities in 2016-2018, KazAtomProm said. The parties have also agreed upon the timing of the purchase of nuclear fuel pellets produced in Kazakhstan until 2024, it added.

The agreements will enable UMP to have "operational activity with a mid-term perspective", it said.

Commissioning of the plant and production of the first batch of fuel pellets is scheduled for 2019.

In July, the heads of KazAtomProm and China's CITIC Group met to discuss attracting investment to the Central Asian country's nuclear energy sector. Askar Zhumagaliyev and Chang Zhenming met as part of the working visit to China of Kazakhstan's first deputy prime minister, Bakytzhan Sagintayev. CITIC Group, formerly the China International Trust and Investment Corporation, is a state-owned investment company established in 1979. Separately, KazAtomProm signed a trilateral agreement of intent with China National Nuclear Corporation and CITIC Group to extend their cooperation.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News