31 May 2023 12:44

Kazatomprom delivers second batch of nuclear fuel for Chinese NPP

ALMATY. May 31 (Interfax) - Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan's nuclear fuel company, has supplied the second batch of low enriched uranium, more than 30 tonnes made by the Ulba-TVC Kazakh-Chinese joint venture, for Chinese nuclear power plants, the company said.

"A ceremony took place at the Fangchengan NPP to accept the nuclear fuel [and] fuel assemblies made in the Ust-Kamenogorsk-based Ulva-TVC joint venture," the company said in a press release on Wednesday.

The product passed quality control and was accepted by the customer, it said.

"Fuel assemblies are based on fuel pellets, which are made of Kazakh uranium at UMP [Ulba Metallurgical Plant]. Once fuel is loaded into the reactor as planned, electricity will be generated and supplied to consumers in China. The breakthrough project was made possible by the joint work with CGN [China General Nuclear Power Group], and gave a fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations," the company said.

Ulba-TVC plans to ramp up production in 2024 to reach the rated capacity of 200 tonnes of uranium fuel assemblies, it said. The plant has a guaranteed market for the next 20 years. Launching the innovative facility has allowed Kazakhstan to join the small group of manufacturers and suppliers of nuclear fuel used by power plants, the company said.

The Ulba-TVC plant delivered the first batch of fuel assemblies for Chinese nuclear power plants in December 2022. A number of additional shipments of nuclear fuel will be made from Kazakhstan to China by the end of this year.

The Ulba-TVC went on stream in November 2021, after it was certified by the owner of the AFA 3G fuel assembly production technology, the French company Framatome, and recognized as a certified nuclear fuel supplier by the end user, the Chinese nuclear corporation CGNPC-URC.

The joint venture was founded by Ulba Metallurgical Plant (a subsidiary of Kazatomprom, which has a 51% stake) and China's CGNPC-URC (of China General Nuclear Power Corporation, which has a 49% stake).