Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Atomic Company, Kazatomprom, and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC) have started work on a plant which will construct fuel assemblies (FA) for nuclear power stations in China.
The FA Manufacturing Plant in Kazakhstan will be managed jointly by subsidiaries of the Chinese (49%) and Kazakhstan (51%) organisations.
French nuclear power specialist Areva will provide technological assistance for the plant, including fuel fabrication technology, engineering documentation, supply of the key production equipment and training for personnel.
Once in operation, the plant is expected to deliver fully automated production, with a capacity of 200 tonnes of fuel assemblies per year.
The reported cost of construction is KZT 49 billion (US$ 149 million), and initial FA production is scheduled for 2020.
Askar Zhumagaliyev, CEO of Kazatomprom, said, “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, said, “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”.