For peace

For 12 years already the Republic of Kazakhstan celebrates the Day of Nuclear Industry People. This holiday was officially established by the Decree of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Today the nuclear industry is one of the most competitive and technologically advanced sectors of the economy. The national operator for the import/export of uranium, rare metals and nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants in our country is JSC NAC Kazatomprom. Ulba Metallurgical Plant as part of the National Atomic Company is a strategically important and unique company. But everything in order.

 Peaceful Atom

The basis for the establishment of this holiday was a long-term and active participation of the Kazakhstan industry in the nuclear project of the Soviet Union. After gaining independence, Kazakhstan resolutely refused to participate in the creation of atomic weapons, and on August 29, 1991, the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was closed. The rapid development of the peaceful nuclear industry continues in the Republic. All enterprises previously incorporated into the famous Sredmash and located on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan were merged into the National Atomic Company Kazatomprom in July 1997 by the decision of the President. Since 2010 Kazatomprom has been the world leader in uranium mining, and since 2018 it has been ranked first in the world in terms of uranium sales. And this is not surprising as about 14% of the global uranium reserves are concentrated in our country. By this indicator we take the second place after Australia. The mines are located in the Turkestan, Kyzylorda, Mangistau and North Kazakhstan regions. The uniqueness of Kazakhstani mines lies in the fact that uranium can be mined here using the most progressive and environmentally friendly method of in-situ leaching. The development strategy of NAC Kazatomprom is to manufacture products of the highest degree of technological readiness: fuel pellets, fuel rods and fuel assemblies. And an important role in the implementation of this strategy is assigned to Ulba Metallurgical Plant.

 Ulba Metallurgical Plant. Atomic Age Creators

The story about the role of UMP in the development of the nuclear industry of our Republic should start from an equally remarkable date – the 75th anniversary of the USSR atomic project. On August 20, 1945, a Special Committee was formed at the USSR State Defense Committee, which had special and extraordinary powers to solve any problems of the Uranium project. And on August 30, 1945, an interdepartmental government body was formed as the First General Office (FGO), subordinate to the Special Committee. The FGO was in charge of R&D, design, experimental design organizations and industrial enterprises for the use of uranium in-nuclear energy and the creation of nuclear weapons.

It should be noted that in the middle of the 20th century, nuclear weapons were being developed in many countries, and such work was carried out in the USSR for the purpose of nuclear deterrence.

In 1949 Plant No. 2A, now Ulba Metallurgical Plant, was also involved in such work. The enterprise initially planned to produce metallic thorium for further processing into weapons grade uranium. The first products were manufactured on October 29, 1949. However in 2 years the project ceased to exist, and the enterprise was reoriented to new types of products. Throughout its history, the plant has been solving the most important scientific and production problems set by the time. Therefore, the UMP people creating elements of nuclear weapons actively worked on the use of unique technologies for peaceful purposes. UMP began to develop rapidly, the inflow of top-class specialists from all over the Soviet Union increased, and uranium, beryllium and tantalum products boomed throughout the entire large soviet country. By the end of the 80s, the plant produced 80% of all fuel pellets for reactors of nuclear power plants in the Soviet Union and friendly countries.

 New History

UMP joined Kazatomprom in 1997. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the plant survived, logistical ties were lost, and products were not in demand. With the creation of NAC, the development of the plant went up sharply. Large investments, profitable crediting, solid business partners and access to the world markets are evidences of the new history of UMP after hard 90s.

Now as before Ulba Metallurgical Plant is a unique company, a team of specialists whose experience has firmly established the plant's products on the world market. Breakthrough projects, vast plans and strengthening of positions – all these are a new story to be continued.

The beryllium operations division produces unique products that are demanded by the world consumers such as the Ulba structural beryllium of high purity which has a high chance of participating in the construction of the ITER fusion reactor blanket. Just like the new structural material as titanium beryllide which is an unprecedented UMP product.

Uranium operations division at UMP is engaged in the manufacture of fuel pellets for China in addition to processing natural uranium chemical concentrate from Kazakhstani mines.

Works on the technical upgrade of the pellets production is proceeding in a planned manner. This large-scale upgrade will allow UMP producing up to 400 tons of high quality uranium pellets annually.

In 2021 the equipment will be certified by the French company Framatome. This will make it possible to produce and supply the French design pellets for the Chinese market and Ulba-FA LLP.

Breakthrough investment project of NAC Kazatomprom and UMP is Ulba-FA LLP – production of fuel assemblies with a capacity of 200 tons per year. Project implementation is under the control of the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The pandemic has undoubtedly made its adjustments. However at present, construction and installation works have been completed, equipment has been installed, the most important of which is a double-sided spot welding robot, a coordinate measuring machine and a line for manufacturing fuel assemblies. The commissioning process of these units is being completed, and work continues on improving the quality of products to fully meet the requirements of the French company Framatome. Next year, it is planned to carry out a preliminary certification process: to select process conditions of the fabrication of fuel rods and fuel assemblies for the fuel assemblies models with simulators of fuel pellets. And in the near future, the first fuel assemblies produced in Kazakhstan, in Ust-Kamenogorsk will be shipped to consumers...

Dear workers of the nuclear industry! Dear Ulba people! You work for the sake of peace and for the welfare of our country! We wish you the conquest of all the peaks in your work, health and well-being!


ITER – International Experimental Thermonuclear Reactor

Press Office, Ump JSC
«Rudny Altay» newspaper, No.114 dated 24.09.2020
«My City» newspaper, No.117 dated 24.09.2020
«7 Days» newspaper, No.38 dated 24.09.2020