Uzbekistan for seven years will supply the US Nukem uranium concentrate for $ 300 million, said on Wednesday, September 27, the information portal of the Government of Uzbekistan Gazeta.uz. The press service of the Ministry of Foreign Trade of the republic confirmed the information about the contract and its amount. The representative of the department did not answer questions about the size of supplies. With a representative of Nukem Inc. could not be contacted. The contract with the company was signed last week during the visit of US President Shavkat Mirziyev to the US, Gazeta.uz cites the words of the Minister of Foreign Trade of the country, Eliera Ganiev.
The US market is one of the largest, with annual consumption of about 25,000 tons of uranium per year, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the US Department of Energy. At the same time, the USA produces about 2000 tons. Uzbekistan produces more (2500 tons per year) and Russia (3000 tons). Rosatom's mining subsidiary Atomredmetzoloto does not supply uranium to the US, its spokesman says, and the sister structure of Uranium One, which extracts uranium in Canada, Kazakhstan and the US, does not disclose data on uranium sales to the United States. The representative noted that this is classified information.
Uranium is needed to make fuel for nuclear power plants, explains the director of the Center for Economic Forecasting of Gazprombank Airat Khalikov. Only a few countries in the world have facilities for enriching uranium, adds Khalikov: Russia, the United States, France, India and China. World reserves of uranium, according to the analyst ACRA Maxim Khudalov, are 5-6 million tons, of which in the US no more than 1.5% (about 63,000 tons). "In the US, a very expensive enrichment procedure, so enterprises are forced to reduce the cost of raw materials. And in Uzbekistan there is Navoi combine, which extracts uranium by the method of underground leaching. This is a very cheap method, the cost of a pound of metal does not exceed $ 12, "Khudalov explains.
On September 18, a pound of uranium was worth about $ 20.5, according to UxC Nuclear Fuel Price Indicators. Traditionally, American concentrators purchased uranium concentrate in Canada, at Uranium One plants. "Now, apparently, there were intentions to diversify purchases," Khudalov said. "The United States is considering various options for diversifying supplies, including to minimize the supply of Russian companies," said Yevgen Minchenko, president of the communications holding company Minchenko Consulting. Uzbekistan has long been supplying US uranium, and since 1992 until the mid-2000s, American Nukem was even an exclusive importer. Uzbekistan wanted to strengthen political relations with the US, a source in Rosatom believes.