ASTANA, October 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Kazakhstan is ready to increase its annual uranium production up to 25,000-30,000 tonnes under the related market demands and can build its own nuclear power plant within the next ten years, Vice President of the national atomic energy company Kazatomprom Sergei Yashin said at the Sixth Eurasian Forum KAZENERGY-2011 on Wednesday.
“Kazakhstan is able to meet the global demand in uranium in the near 80 years,” he stressed.
“The Fukushima accident triggered revision of the demand in the natural uranium ore. However, the uranium consumption continues growing,” Yashin said.
“According to the updated forecast, the world will need the uranium production to increase by 50 percent by 2030.That raises the question who will ensure this growth?” he said.
According to Yashin, “Kazakhstan is one of a few countries capable to increase uranium production rapidly."
“Now, our uranium output reached 20,000 tonnes, which makes up 33 percent of the global uranium production,” he said, adding, “As of today Kazakhstan has mined only 4.2 percent of the total uranium reserves available in the country.”
Kazatomprom has revised the outlook for Kazakhstan's uranium production in 2011 to 19,900 tonnes. In 2010, uranium production in Kazakhstan reached 17,803 tonnes.
The Kazatomprom vice president is optimistic pertaining to the country’s chances to build its own nuclear power plant. “The work has already been started. If the decision is made and with due account of the current technologies for NPP construction, a nuclear power plant may be built in Kazakhstan in the next decade,” he said.
At the same time, the role and position of the atomic energy sector in the country’s energy balance have not been determined. Besides, the country should opt sites for the location of its nuclear power plants and choose best and safest nuclear technologies, Yashin said.
Kazatomprom is Kazakhstan's national operator for export of uranium and its compounds, rare metals, nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants, special equipment, technologies and dual use materials.
Kazatomprom, is one of the leading uranium producers, operating 21 uranium mines in Kazakhstan.