Kazakhstan on Pace to stay Tops in Uranium

    By Raushan Nurshayeva
    Kazakhstan boosted uranium production by 41 percent in the first six months of 2010 to cement its place as the world's largest producer.
    The country produced 8,452 tons of uranium in the first half, said Albert Rau, deputy minister for Industry and New Technologies. It is expected to produce 9,770 tons in the second half, he said.
    That would mean 18,222 tons for the year, in line with an earlier forecast and 31 percent more than the 13,900 tons it produced last year.
    Kazakhstan overtook Canada in 2009 as the world's biggest uranium miner.
    "Kazakhstan will preserve its undisputed position as global leader in uranium production," Rau said at a government meeting.
    The country last year accounted for more than a quarter of global uranium output.
    Kazakhstan, which holds more than 15 percent of global uranium reserves, has previously said it could raise production to more than 25,000 tons a year by 2015.
    Only Australia holds more known uranium reserves in the ground.
    The World Nuclear Association said global uranium consumption will be about 68,646 tons this year.
    It forecasts consumption rising 33 percent to 91,537 tons a year in 2020 and 55 percent to 106,128 tons a year in 2030.
    The state nuclear firm KazAtomProm has ambitions to take its uranium through the entire fuel cycle by 2020, a process that will require it to build a reactor, Reuters reports.