Kazakhstan and Canada to invest $200 million into uranium conversion facility

Nov 13. Tengrinews

Kazakhstan and Canada to invest $200 million into uranium conversion facilityKazakhstan and Canada jointly plan to invest $200 million into a uranium conversion facility, Tengrinews reports, citing Vladimir Shkolnik, KazAtomProm National Uranium Company Chairman of the Board.

“We are working to launch a facility capable of feeding 40 nuclear power plants. The plan is not only to meet the demand of the anticipated one or two nuclear power plants – should they be built in Kazakhstan – but to tap the global market of nuclear fuel. The investments stand at about $200 million, the joint venture is on parity basis”, Mr. Shkolnik said following ceremony to sign a nuclear co-operation agreement (NCA).

The document was signed by Kazakhstan’s Vice PM and Minister of Industry and New Technology Asset Issekeshev and Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird.

According to Mr. Shkolnik, the project is about uranium conversion. “This facility is another step to the full nuclear cycle in Kazakhstan”, he said, adding that the production capacities of the facility are planned at 6 000 tons of uranium a year.

Tim Gitzel, President and CEO of Cameco, said that “the two nations have been working in uranium production for years, and today’s agreement lays foundation for further bilateral cooperation to convert uranium”.

“Therefore the agreement is of paramount importance (…) We entered Kazakhstan’s market in 1993. There have been a variety of joint projects. We plan to invest more than has already been invested. This agreement enables Canada to transfer technology to Kazakhstan. The Canadian side possesses uranium purification and conversion technology. And we are interested in Kazakhstan’s investments”, Tim Gitzel said.

According to the press-release issued by the Ministry of Industry and New Technology, the agreement paves the way for launching a refining facility and facilitates further conversion of uranium to produce nuclear fuel at the Ulba metallurgical plant [engaged in production of hi-tech uranium, beryllium and tantalum products for the needs of the nuclear power industry].

KazAtomProm, including its stakes in other companies, produced a total of 11 900 tons in 2012 (over 20% of global production). In 2011 the Company produced 11 079 tons.