Uzbekistan signs deal to supply uranium to Japan

Feb 08, 2011 12:00 AM

Uzbekistan agreed Monday to supply uranium to Japan for the next 10 years in a deal reached ahead of the Uzbek leader’s visit to Tokyo. Navoi Mining & Metallurgy Combinat, an Uzbek government-run miner and processor of uranium, signed the 10-year contract in Tokyo with Japanese trading firm Itochu Corporation. The long-term deal marks Japan’s latest step in a strategy to diversify its natural energy sources, and in part to wean itself off from heavy dependence on China.
"Through the long-term contract, we can contribute to securing a stable source of fuel for Japanese utilities companies," the Reuters news agency quoted Itochu as saying in a statement.

Although the Japanese company did not divulge details about the contract, the news agency cited a source as saying Uzbekistan will provide between 551-1102 tons of the uranium, the metal used in nuclear fuel generation, a year. The industry source added that the contract is expected to kick in 2011. The energy-rich Central Asian republic has around 122,356 tons of nuclear metal, giving it the twelfth largest reserves in the world.

Recently in Tokyo, Uzbekistan’s Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade Galina Saidova signed a memorandum of understanding with Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda to boost trade and investment between the two countries. Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov touches down in Japan for a state visit at the invitation of the Japanese premier Naoto Kan.

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