AREVA to provide technology to Kazakh-Chinese nuclear fuel assembly plant

Written By: Stratton Report
December 6, 2016

On December 6, AREVA announced that it will provide nuclear fuel assembly production technology to the FA manufacturing plant being developed by the joint venture between the Kazakhstan National Atomic Company Kazatomprom and China General Nuclear Power Corporation.

According to AREVA, the plant is part of Kazatomprom’s strategy to develop a vertically integrated fuel cycle company with advanced nuclear fuel fabrication capabilities.

Per the nuclear technology company, the plant will be managed through a joint venture “Ulba-FA.” The JV is 51% owned by Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC, a Kazatomprom’s subsidiary and 49% owned by CGN-URC, a subsidiary of CGNPC.

AREVA NP stressed that the agreement it has signed with Ulba-FA LLP’s provides a license for fuel fabrication technology, engineering documentation, supply of the key production equipment, personnel training and other services necessary to establishing a completely automated production with the capacity of 200 tonnes of fuel assemblies per year, which will be further used in NPPs as nuclear fuel.

Per the firm, the plant is expected to have a guaranteed market outlet for 20 years, and investments would comprise over KZT 49 billion ($150 million), half of which is to be provided by the Chinese side.

Initial fuel assembly production is scheduled for 2020.

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.”