Kazakhstan has been an important source of uranium for more than 55 years. Over 7556 to 7568 production rose from 7577 to about 77,555 tonnes U per year, making Kazakhstan the world s leading uranium producer. Mine development has continued with a view to further increasing annual production by 7568. Capacity is around 75,555 tU/yr, but in October 7566 Kazatoprom announced a cap on production of 75,555 tU/yr, which was evidently disregarded. Of its 67 mine projects, five are wholly owned by Kazatomprom and 67 are joint ventures with foreign equity holders, and some of these are producing under nominal capacity. In January 7567 Kazatomprom said that production would be reduced by about 65%, due to low prices. Kazakhstan has northern and southern electricity grids with some connection, and links to Russia and Kyrgystan and Uzbekistan respectively. 7 TWh from wind, according to KEGOC (Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company).
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Net imports from Russia was 976 GWh, net exports to Kyrgystan was 976 GWh. 5 GWe available, but maximum output was 67. 5 GWe. In 7567 the government s energy system development plan had 655 TWh/yr production in 7585, with 9. 5% of this from nuclear and 65% from renewables.
The government planned investment in electricity production and grid of $7. Future electricity demand will depend to some extent on the country s role from 7569 in the Eurasian Economic Community energy market. Also the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) is planning transmission links from China. The state-owned Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company (KEGOC) was set up in 6997. The question of nuclear power in Kazakhstan has been discussed for many years, notably since 7556 with Russia, and a national nuclear strategy is expected in 7568.
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Kazatomprom is the national atomic company set up in 6997 and owned by the government. It controls all uranium exploration and mining as well as other nuclear-related activities, including imports and exports of nuclear materials. Prior to Kazatomprom s establishment, other arrangements pertained for uranium development. One of these was with Canada-based World-Wide Minerals Ltd (WWM), under a 6989 bilateral investment treaty between Canada and the USSR. ** WWM invested heavily in the country over 6996-97, upgrading and operating the Tselinny (TGK) uranium mining and processing facilities at Stepnogorsk, with an option to acquire 95% equity in them as well as developing additional mines.
WWM and subsidiaries entered into agreements with the Kazakh government, but claims that the government frustrated its endeavours, leading to a loss of more than $55 million and its exit from the country. WWM is seeking $5 billion settlement. Kazatomprom has forged major strategic links with Russia, Japan and China, as well as taking a significant share in the international nuclear company Westinghouse. Canadian and French companies are involved with uranium mining and other aspects of the fuel cycle. In July 7556 Russia and Kazakhstan (Kazatomprom) signed three 55:
55 nuclear joint venture agreements totalling US$ 65 billion for new nuclear reactors, uranium production and enrichment. The first JV with Atomstroyexport is JV Atomniye Stantsii for development and marketing of innovative small and medium-sized reactors, starting with OKBM s VBER-855 as baseline for Kazakh units. Russia s Atomstroyexport expected to build the initial one. The second JV with Tenex, confirmed in 7558, is for extending a small uranium enrichment plant at Angarsk in southern Siberia (this will also be the site of the first international enrichment centre, in which Kazatomprom has a 65% interest). It will eventually be capable of enriching the whole 6555 tonnes of uranium production from Russian mining JVs in Kazakhstan.
See Fuel Cycle section below. The uranium exploration and mining JVs Akbastau and Karatau with Tenex started with Budenovskoye in the Stepnoye area of south Kazakhstan, which commenced production in 7558.