New Build

Kazakhstan / France Ready To Compete For New Build Project With EPR1200 Reactor Technology

By David Dalton
30 January 2023

Decision on reactor supplier expected by end of year
France Ready To Compete For New Build Project With EPR1200 Reactor Technology
Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. A decision on the choice of technology supplier for the country’s first nuclear plant is expected this year. Courtesy Ninaras/Wikimedia
France’s state nuclear power company EDF is ready to support Kazakhstan as the central Asian country prepares for the construction of its first commercial nuclear power station, but faces competition from other reactor suppliers including Russia.

Vakisasai Ramany, senior vice-president for development of new nuclear projects and engineering at EDF, said he had met Kazakhstan’s energy minister Bolat Akchulakov and energy vice-minister Zhandos Nurmaganbetov to discuss “the perspectives of the cooperation in the civil nuclear domain between Kazakhstan and France, for the development of their nuclear power plant programme.

“EDF is strongly committed to bringing its state-of-the-art EPR1200 technology, its competences, skills and dedication to support [project company] Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants for the construction and safe operation of its future nuclear power plants in the spirit of a long-term partnership,” Ramany wrote on social media.

EDF’s Generation III+ EPR1200 technology is a smaller version of the large-scale EPR1650-MW nuclear plant. EDF is also proposing the EPR1200 for new build in other countries such as Slovenia and the Czech Republic.

Kazakhstan’s energy ministry said EDF is one of four potential suppliers of nuclear technology now being considered by Kazakhstan, alongside China National Nuclear Corporation, Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power and Rosatom of Russia.

A decision by Astana on the choice of technology supplier is expected this year.

Russia ‘Helping Kazakhstan With Roadmap’

Media reports in Kazakhstan earlier this month said Rosatom was helping Kazakhstan draw up a roadmap for its first nuclear power station.

Reports quoted prime minister Alikhan Smailov as saying Kazakhstan wants to develop the nuclear project “together with companies that boast the world’s most cutting-edge technologies in that respect”.

Smailov was also reported as saying it is “not a foregone conclusion” that Rosatom will build the nuclear power station. He said a decision on the choice of technology supplier is expected this year.

Commissioning of a first plant is potentially earmarked for 2035.

In December France-based engineering group Assystem signed a memorandum of understanding with JSC Samruk-Kazyna, the national welfare fund of Kazakhstan, to cooperate on Astana’s planned civil nuclear power programme – one of a number of agreements between Paris and Astana as France aims to win the nuclear tender.

Kazakhstan is a major producer of uranium for nuclear power plants, but does not operate nuclear power commercially.

In June, the government said it was planning to build it first nuclear power station on the western shore of Lake Balkhash in the Almaty region in the southeast of the country.

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