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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs Up Uranium Assets

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Toshiba, Japan's biggest maker of nuclear reactors, sold a 10 percent stake in its Westinghouse Electric unit to Kazakhstan's state uranium miner to gain access to the world's second-largest reserves of the metal, Almaty-based Kazatomprom said in a statement Monday.

Toshiba, which bought 77 percent of Westinghouse in October for about $4.16 billion, sold 10 percent to Kazatomprom for $540 million, Kazatomprom said.

Kazakhstan, the world's third-biggest uranium miner, plans to become the largest by 2010 and boost its share of Japan's market to about one-third from 1 percent now. The nation wants to use its reserves, which may be 20 percent of the world's total, to gain market share in all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle, including power generation.

"The alliance of Toshiba, Kazatomprom and Westinghouse will lead to a global increase in nuclear energy production," Kazatomprom said in the statement.

Toshiba last week said it was in talks to buy a stake in a uranium mine in Kazakhstan from Marubeni, Japan's fifth-largest trading company. Tokyo-based Toshiba plans to buy 22.5 percent of the mine, located in southern Kazakhstan, for tens of billions of yen, the Nikkei newspaper reported Friday, without saying where it got the information.

Toshiba was seeking investors to help pay for its 77 percent stake in Westinghouse. Shaw Group of the United States paid $1.08 billion for 20 percent of Westinghouse and Japan's Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries invested $162 million for 3 percent.