Foreign and Military Affairs

China, Kazakhstan set to sign nuclear agreement

By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-15 07:01

China will soon reach an agreement to receive nuclear power assistance from Kazakhstan, a source told China Daily.

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The unnamed source with ties to the government said the two countries had originally planned to sign the agreement during President Hu Jintao's recent visit to the Central Asian country.

But due to Hu's limited time there, an agreement was not drafted, but the source said one will be signed soon.

The agreement, once signed, will allow the resource-rich Kazakhstan to offer substantial help to China, which has a rising demand for nuclear plants.

China Guangdong Nuclear Power Co from China's major economic engine, Guangdong province, has begun cooperating with Kazakhstan's state nuclear power firm for uranium, according to the source.

A legal framework such as an intergovernmental agreement is necessary for more cooperation in the nuclear energy field, said Kairat N. Kelimbetow, chief executive officer of Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna.

Kelimbetow, who is in charge of the state-funded enterprises and state-owned finance in Kazakhstan, said the two countries have been negotiating for the past two months over the nuclear agreement.

As China is set to increase its nuclear power supply, there is a huge potential for cooperation, Kelimbetow told China Daily.

Kazakhstan, a nation rich in natural resources, is set to surpass Canada and Australia to become the world's biggest uranium producer in 2010, according to its national plan.