Kazakhstan sells nuclear fuel to Brazil

Kazakhstan sells nuclear fuel to Brazil

Kazakhstan’s energy market is struggling with an oversupply of nuclear fuel, but its national uranium import and export operator Kazatomprom has announced its first deal with Brazil. The cost of the deal was not disclosed.

Brazil has shown  strong interest in buying Kazakhstan’s nuclear fuel after Astana officials last year.

“We have proposed Kazakhstan’s participation in bids for the purchase of uranium or any other type of fuel that could be used in Brazilian industry,” Kazakhstan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yerzhan Ashikbayev said after meeting  with Brazilian energy authorities on May 5, 2017.

While Brazil is at the top of some of the world’s largest uranium reserves, the country’s nuclear industry has fallen behind after environmental agencies denied licensing of ore. In addition, the lack of investment affects Brazil’s enrichment capacity. Angra I and Angra II, the two nuclear power plants in Brazil, import uranium from Canada, while the partially built Angra III is inoperative and is waiting for an investor  .

In 2017, Kazatomprom announced that the country will cut uranium production by 20% over the next three years due to “challenging market conditions.” Global uranium prices fell more than 70% after the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011. while the world’s largest uranium company, Cameco, was forced to suspend production in an attempt to reduce excess supply in the market .

“We believe that these measures strongly underline our commitment to ensuring the long- term sustainability of uranium mining, “declared Galymzhan Pirmatov, chairman of Kazatomprom’s board of directors, on December 21, 2017.

Brazil is not the only country rich in energy that Kazakhstan is partnering to sell uranium ore. In April 2016 Kazatomprom signed an agreement  to supply 950 tonnes of uranium concentrate to Iran. This contract was designed to cover three years and was expected to become a breakthrough for Kazakhstan’s uranium industry.

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Arnaud Lefevre

Arnaud Lefevre is the Chief Executive Officer of Dynatom International. Arnaud is in charge of the international development of the business portfolio.