Kazakhstan to inaugurate IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank’s building

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ASTANA (TCA) — Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on August 29 will host inauguration ceremony of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank’s building with participation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The ceremony will also be attended by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, Co-Chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) Foundation, former US Senator Sam Nunn, Minister of State of United Arab Emirates Maitha Bint Salem Al-Shemsi, Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Organisation Lassina Zerbo, high representatives of foreign governments, including the LEU Bank’s donors, and renowned experts in nuclear energy field, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said.

The IAEA LEU Bank is a physical reserve of LEU with a total mass of up to 90 metric tons suitable for making fuel for a standard light water reactor, which is the most common type of nuclear power reactor in the world. Such a kind of reactor can supply electricity to a large city for three years.

The main principle of functioning of the IAEA LEU Bank as a mechanism of guaranteed supplies used in case of emergency is that it should not violate the stability of the commercial market. In addition, the Bank’s presence does not limit the rights of the Agency member states to establish their own nuclear fuel cycle facilities. LEU from the IAEA Bank can be acquired only by IAEA member states that have concluded comprehensive safeguards agreements with the IAEA and comply with their provisions.

The donors provided $150 million for creation of the IAEA LEU Bank and its operation for at least 10 years.

Initially, NTI Foundation came up with an idea to launch the Bank under the auspices of the IAEA in 2006. Later, the IAEA approved Kazakhstan’s application to host the Bank’s storage facility at the Ulba Metallurgic Plant in the east Kazakh city of Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk).

Sergey Kwan

TCA