The construction of nuclear fuel fabrication plant has started in Kazakhstan

Press release

National Atomic Company Kazatomprom and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) have proceeded to implementation of a joint innovative project in the nuclear sector. This has become known during the teleconference with participation of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Construction of this FA Manufacturing Plant is one of the breakthrough projects to be implemented under Kazatomprom’s strategy which focuses on development of a vertically integrated fuel cycle company with advanced nuclear fuel fabrication capabilities.

The plant will be managed through a joint venture “Ulba-FA”, the founders of which are Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC (51%) (Kazatomprom’s subsidiary) and CGN-URC (49%) (subsidiary of CGNPC) .

FA production technology will be provided by the French company AREVA, the world’s leader in this segment. The relevant Contract was signed between AREVA NP and Ulba-FA LLP. The Agreement provides a license for fuel fabrication technology, engineering documentation, supply of the key production equipment, personnel training and others. 

Askar Zhumagaliyev, CEO of Kazatomprom noted: “This FA manufacturing plant construction is the result of a long-term cooperation of Kazakhstan, China and France and one of the strategic steps of Kazatomprom towards production diversification. Maintaining our uranium mining leadership, we are planning to offer to the market the fuel for nuclear power plants of Kazakhstan’s origin, which will allow us to strengthen our position on the global nuclear market».

Zhang Shanming, CGNPC Director General stated: “CGNPC has been cooperating with Kazatomprom in uranium mining, natural uranium trading and nuclear fuel pellets fabrication since 2006. Execution of the joint fuel project allowed both companies to take their cooperation to a new level. This project is an example of successful cooperation within the “One Belt, One Road” and “Bright Path” initiatives”.

Philippe Knoche, CEO of AREVA declared: “AREVA is proud to be selected as a full scope technology provider for this future fuel plant. This contract reinforces the strong links between AREVA, Kazatomprom and CGNPC. Our team is already mobilized for the successful implementation of the project and we have started the production of the necessary equipment”.

It should be noted that this project will allow to establish a modern, completely automated production with the capacity of 200 tonnes of fuel assemblies per year, which will be further used in NPPs as nuclear fuel. The enterprise is expected to have a guaranteed market outlet for 20 years.

Investments would comprise over KZT 49 billion, half of which is to be provided by the Chinese side. This project will also create 129 direct new jobs and create additional economic benefit through support goods and services in Kazakhstan. Initial FA production is scheduled for 2020.