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Conversion

Conversion plants are operating commercially in the US, Canada, France, Russia and China. The main new plant is Areva’s Comurhex II, operating between two sites in France, at Malvési and Tricastin, and expected to reach its nameplate capacity in 2022. China’s capacity is expected to grow considerably through to 2025 and beyond, as the country plans to keep pace with domestic requirements and become a strong player in the global nuclear fuel market.

In 2017, world nameplate primary conversion capacity was estimated at around 57 500 tU, with the actual conversion production assumed at 45 740 tU. Part of the supply continued to be provided by secondary conversion sources. Secondary supply of equivalent conversion services includes UF6 material from commercial and government inventories, enricher underfeeding and depleted uranium tails recovery. Uranium and plutonium recycling add to this. Supply provided by primary and secondary conversion sources was able to meet the global demand for conversion services.

Commercial UF6 conversion facilities (tonnes of uranium/year)

Company Nameplate Capacity
in 2017
(tU as UF6)
Share of global capacity (%)
Atomenergoprom* (Russia) 18 000 31.3
Comurhex (France) 15 000 26
Cameco (Canada) 12 500 21.7
ConverDyn (United States) 7 000 12.2
CNNC (China) 5 000 8.7
Total nameplate capacity 57 500 100

Source: WNA, The Nuclear Fuel Report — Global Scenarios for Demand and Supply Availability 2017-2035.
* Nameplate capacity unknown, but assumed based on announced production targets.

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* This information and the price indices are made available for information purposes only, and ESA can take no legal responsibility for the use made of them.