OSKEMEN, Kazakhstan May 26 Kazakhstan, the
world's biggest uranium producer, will start producing nuclear
fuel for Chinese power plants in 2019 through a joint venture
set up by the two countries, a senior official at the Ulba
Metallurgical Plant told Reuters.
The joint venture, Ulba-FA, is now building on land at the
Ulba plant, Kazakhstan's main uranium processing factory.
The Central Asian nation has no enrichment facilities and
mostly exports uranium in the form of triuranium octoxide
or pellets, both of which require further processing
before being used by power plants.
By contrast, the joint venture between Kazakh state nuclear
company Kazatomprom and China's CGNPC aims to produce
ready-to-use fuel assemblies. It will procure enriched uranium
either in China or in Russia, the Ulba plant's head of sales
Alexander Khodanov said on Friday.
The first stage of the joint venture will produce about 200
tonnes of nuclear fuel a year using technologies and equipment
supplied by France's Areva.
Kazakhstan, a former Soviet republic that borders China, has
no nuclear power plants of its own.
(Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov;
Editing by David Goodman)