2 May 2024 14:54

Kazatomprom anticipates business as usual despite U.S. ban on Russian uranium

ASTANA. May 2 (Interfax) - The U.S. ban on importing enriched uranium from Russia is not anticipated to impact Kazatomprom, the Kazakh nuclear company said.

Kazatomprom said in a report that its primary focus was the production of natural uranium, so the ban on Russian enriched uranium imports was unlikely to affect its operations. "It is not expected to have any effect on Kazatomprom, since Kazatomprom's primary business is the production of natural uranium (U3O8)," the company said.

Kazatomprom emphasized that natural uranium retains its Kazakh origin until it reaches conversion facilities, regardless of whether it is supplied by Kazatomprom or its joint venture partners.

The U.S. Senate approved the ban on April 30, set to take effect from the beginning of 2028. If signed into law, the ban will start 90 days after enactment, with waivers available until 2028 in case of supply concerns among domestic nuclear reactors.

In 2022, approximately 12% of U.S. nuclear power plants' uranium came from Russia, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. As per UN Comtrade, with Russia accounting for about one-third of global exports of enriched uranium in 2023, the U.S. could easily shift to other suppliers while Russia explores alternative markets due to the lack of excess supply.

Analysts from Sinara Investment Bank concur with Kazatomprom's assessment. They suggest that while Kazatomprom primarily sells natural uranium, sanctions against Rosatom, its partner in key joint ventures for uranium production, could impact its exports significantly.

Moreover, this development has sparked concerns about potential bottlenecks in supply chains, leading to an increase in uranium futures prices.

Kazatomprom, managed by the National Welfare Fund Samruk-Kazyna JSC, serves as Kazakhstan's national operator for exporting uranium, rare metals, nuclear fuel, and special equipment.