BRASILIA May 5 Kazakhstan is offering to sell
uranium to Brazil to cover the shortage of fuel for its atomic
energy program and help the South American nation explore its
large reserves of uranium ore, a senior Kazak official said on
"We proposed the participation of Kazakhstan in tenders for
the purchase of uranium or any other type of fuel that might be
used in the Brazilian industry," Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister
Yerzhan Ashikbayev said after meeting with Brazilian energy
Kazakhstan is the world's largest producer of uranium and
its national operator Kazatomprom accounts for one third of
global output of the mineral needed to generate nuclear power
and also make weapons.
Kazakhstan inherited an advanced nuclear industry when the
Soviet Union collapsed and is a top supplier of concentrated
uranium, also known as yellowcake, used in nuclear reactors.
Despite possessing plentiful reserves of uranium, among the
world's tenth largest, Brazil's nuclear industry has been dogged
by the denial of environmental licenses to extract the ore.
Its enrichment capability has lagged due to a lack of
investment and the country must import uranium from producers
such as Canada to fuel its two operating nuclear power plants,
Angra I and Angra II.
Cash-strapped Brazil is looking for an investor to finish
the half-built Angra III generator, which would have to rely
entirely on imported nuclear fuel.
Ashikbayev said Kazakhstan wanted to help Brazil explore its
uranium reserves. "There is untapped potential in Brazil and we
have the know-how to run large projects," he told reporters.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Sandra Maler)