LOW ENRICHED URANIUM BANK TO BE LAUNCHED SOON IN KAZAKHSTAN
The world’s first international Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank is planned to be commissioned this year. The member countries of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will keep their reserves in the new LEU bank in Kazakhstan. According to the Minister of Energy Kanat Bozumbayev, the member countries will be able to receive the raw materials without interruption which ensures the effective functioning of the international nuclear fuel market. Kazakhstan’s uranium is exported to China, Europe and India. The uranium isn’t sold in the domestic market. After the launch of the storage facility in Kazakhstan, the IAEA will begin to purchase the raw materials in order to fill in the uranium reserve. The IAEA will deliver the uranium to the countries in critical situations.
KANAT BOZUMBAYEV, KAZAKH ENERGY MINISTER:
- The goal of establishing the LEU bank is to ensure the effective functioning of the international nuclear fuel market on a permanent basis which means the state that uses nuclear energy or considers its inclusion in energy production structure will have the confidence of receiving nuclear fuel in a guaranteed and predictable manner.
The nuclear fuel bank has to reside in a country that doesn’t possess nuclear weapons and is completely open to the IAEA. During the process of choosing a place, the factors such as Kazakhstan’s positive image in the international arena, the country’s developed uranium mining sector, and as well as the availability of a territory for uranium storage had worked in favor of Kazakhstan. The bank will be located in the ULBA Metallurgical Plant in Oskemen. This enterprise has more than half a century of experience of the uranium mining and storage of nuclear materials. Kazakhstan’s strategic plan is to create a vertically integrated company with a nuclear fuel cycle by 2020.