The loss of the premium gas and oil market is only the beginning.
Nuclear power plants from the U.S. and Europe, which used to buy fuel in Russia, are looking for new suppliers to conclude contracts from 2025, Yerzhan Mukanov, CEO of the Kazakh state company Kazatomprom, said.
His company is gearing up to increase its uranium production to meet the demand of new buyers, Bloomberg writes.
The United States is among the countries seeking to reduce their dependence on uranium from Russia.
As Bloomberg notes, after the invasion of Ukraine, exports of Russian nuclear fuel increased, which boosted the Kremlin’s income and strengthened its influence on buyers around the world. Kazakhstan produces about 40% of the world’s uranium, and all uranium produced in the country is exported.
The World Nuclear Association predicts that by 2030 the demand for uranium in the world will grow by about a third.
At the same time, 35% of enriched uranium in the world is produced by Rosatom, with which European companies continue to work.
The general director of Kazatomprom said that geopolitical uncertainty is affecting uranium supply routes, so Kazakhstan is preparing capacities to respond to growing demand.
The Kazakh state-owned company also plans to open a new uranium supply route that bypasses Russia — through one of the ports of China. Now nuclear fuel from Kazakhstan is exported either through Russia or through the Caspian and Black Seas.
Mukanov added that the demand for uranium is growing, including from China, which is looking for fuel for new nuclear power plants and increasing its own reserves. According to him, Beijing wants to achieve continuous long-term supplies of uranium.
On April 10, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that the priority goal for the country now is “diversification of energy supplies to world markets”, including the development of oil supply routes bypassing Russia through the Trans-Caspian route for Astana.
Rosatom has not yet been included in the European sanctions lists. As Politico wrote in February, France and Hungary, dependent on Russian fuel, are blocking the restrictions.