ALMATY/TOKYO, June 2 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s KNB security service has accused a key nuclear industry official of illegally selling uranium deposits to foreign companies. Charges which he denies, said the KNB.
Below is a list of joint ventures the KNB said were used by by Mukhtar Dzhakishev, former head of state uranium company Kazatomprom, to illegally channel away export revenues.
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Kyzylkum operates Khorasan-1, Kazakhstan’s largest uranium mine with reserves of more than 80,000 tonnes.
Canada’s Uranium One UUU.TO owns 30 percent in Kyzylkum. It has said it is cooperating with the Kazakh investigation and the transactions through which it acquired the assets were completed in accordance with Kazakh law.
A spokesman at Chubu Electric Power said his company was gathering information and checking facts.
“We can’t foresee the impact on the project,” he said. “We plan to continue pursuing the project for full production.”
TEPCO spokesman Hiroshi Itagaki said: “At this point, there is no impact to our uranium procurement plans, but we are paying close attention to the situation.”
Toshiba, TEPCO and Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) also hold an indirect 19.95 pct stake in Uranium One.
Asked if the KNB accusations would change Toshiba’s investment plans via Uranium One, Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori said: “There is no change in our plans at this time.”
The venture operates Khorasan-2, a deposit estimated to yield 2,000 tonnes of uranium annually for 40 years.
The same Japanese consortium owns an undisclosed stake in the company.
The venture, in which Uranium One owns 70 percent, operates two deposits, Akdala and South Inkai. Uranium One estimates its share of proven and probable reserves in Akdala at 6,700 tonnes. Its share of inferred reserves in South Inkai is 16,720 tonnes.
The company mines and refines uranium, including through joint ventures with Kazatomprom. The KNB said Dzhakishev indirectly controlled the Stepnogorsk plant.
Additional reporting by Mayumi Negishi and Chikako Mogi in Tokyo; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Keiron Henderson