Kazakhstan will start producing nuclear fuel for Chinese NPPs in 2019 through the Ulba-FA joint venture (JV) set up between Kazakh state nuclear company Kazatomprom and China General Nuclear (CGN) by the two countries, a senior official at Kazakhstan’s Ulba Metallurgical Plant told Reuters. Kazakhstan has no enrichment facilities and mostly exports uranium in the form of uranium oxide or pellets, both of which require further processing before being used by power plants. However, the new JV aims to produce ready-to-use fuel assemblies. It will procure enriched uranium either in China or in Russia, the Ulba plant’s head of sales Alexander Khodanov said 26 May. The first stage of the project will produce about 200 tonnes of nuclear fuel a year using technologies and equipment supplied by France’s Areva.