Energoatom and Cameco have signed a memorandum of cooperation and understanding as part of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant operator's strategy to diversify its nuclear fuel supply. The document was signed yesterday at the uranium producer's headquarters in Saskatoon, Canada.Cameco and Energoatom sign the memorandum of cooperation and understanding (Image: Energoatom)
Energoatom, which said the agreement considers cooperation in the supply and production of uranium products and nuclear fuel using Cameco's technologies, purchased more than half of its fuel in the first half of this year from the USA's Westinghouse. Its traditional nuclear fuel supplier is Russia's TVEL.
Energoatom said that such diversification means it is fully complying with the recommendations of the International Atomic Energy Agency to have at least two suppliers of nuclear fuel.
In addition, in August 2016, Energoatom and the British-German-Dutch company Urenco entered into an agreement on the supply of enriched uranium.
On 10 July this year, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved the reorganisation of SE Eastern Mining and Processing Enterprise - Zhovti Vody, in the Dnipropetrovsk region - by merging it with Energoatom. This approval envisages Energoatom’s creation of an integrated infrastructure that will include facilities for the extraction and processing of uranium raw materials and the production of nuclear power. Energoatom will also receive a base for zirconium production, meaning it will be able to produce zirconium components for nuclear fuel independently.
One of the three largest uranium producers in the world, Cameco owns uranium mines and conversion plants in Canada and the USA, as well as a 40% stake in the Inkai joint venture with Kazatomprom of Kazakhstan. It also has exploration projects in Australia and Mongolia.
In its statement, Energoatom notes that, according to 2018 data, Cameco accounts for about 18% of world uranium production and 9% of world uranium supplies. Its total production capacity for uranium mining in Canada and Kazakhstan is about 24 mtU annually. The uranium reserves of Cameco's uranium deposits total about 211.5 mtU. Its production of uranium concentrate last year amounted to about 4.2 mtU.
Cameco's conversion facilities are concentrated at a Port Hope plant and account for about 20% of global capacity. It owns a 24% stake in Global Laser Enrichment in the USA, which is testing the use of lasers to commercially enrich uranium. The production of fuel assemblies and reactor components for Candu reactors is handled by a subsidiary of Cameco Fuel Manufacturing Inc, which is the main supplier of fuel assemblies for Candu reactors. In addition, Cameco owns Germany's NUKEM GmbH, a trader and broker of uranium and uranium products.
Cameco has nuclear plant operator customers for its uranium and fuel services in Belgium, Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the USA.
Energoatom operates all of Ukraine's four nuclear power plants - Zaporozhe, Rovno, South Ukraine and Khmelnitsky - which comprise 15 nuclear reactors, including 13 VVER-1000s and two VVER-440s with a total capacity of 13,835 MWe.