December 1, 2021 – Framatome is providing the fuel fabrication technology and license, critical production equipment, engineering documentation and trained personnel for the recently opened nuclear fuel assembly plant by Ulba‑Fa, a Kazakh-Chinese joint venture, in Ust-Kamenogorsk. This milestone was celebrated at the new plant’s opening ceremony took place earlier this month, on the thirty years anniversary of independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Representatives from Samruk-Kazyna, Kazatomprom, Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC, China Atomic Energy Authority, CGNPC and Framatome were present for the celebration. This new plant will be managed and operated by the joint venture Ulba-FA, founded by Ulba Metallurgical Plant JSC, a Kazatomprom’s subsidiary and CGN-URC, a CGNPC’s subsidiary.
“This new plant’s successful and on-time milestone is the culmination of a long-term cooperative partnership and intense team effort between all the parties involved,” said Bernard Fontana, CEO of Framatome. “Framatome is extremely proud to have helped develop this project from concept to construction and qualification. The new facility confirms our capacity to carry out complex international projects and reinforces the strong ties between Framatome and Kazakhstan.”
“The project is a great example of successful multilateral cooperation of global nuclear benchmark companies. The knowledge-intensive production opens up new opportunities for our country to further develop cooperation with other states in the nuclear area”, stated Mazhit Sharipov, CEO of NAC Kazatomprom JSC.
The facility recently completed its qualification requirements and now enters the industrialization phase, with a state-of-the-art production line that will safely manufacture and deliver high-quality fuel to China. The plant uses Framatome’s fuel assembly manufacturing technology and advanced equipment manufactured in France and Germany, and equipment provided by Chinese suppliers. The facility will also benefit from the fuel pellets manufacturing capabilities of the Ulba Metallurgical Plant.
Certified by Framatome, the plant is authorized and capable of manufacturing AFA 3GTM fuel assemblies with a capacity of 200 tons of uranium per year. The requirements from CGNPC-URC, the guaranteed purchaser of the fuel assemblies, have been met and the plant has obtained the status of certified supplier for the Chinese nuclear industry.
Framatome will continue to provide the necessary close assistance to help facilitate the industrialization phase. The company will also pursue further opportunities to strengthen the collaboration with its Kazakh partners regarding future nuclear fuel technologies.
Ulba-FA operators working on a nuclear fuel assembly’s structure made with Framatome components (© kazatomprom.kz)