External News in Brief

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the beginning of July conducted an International Radiological Assistance Programme Training for Emergency Response (I-RAPTER) training in Almaty. The training, held at the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Almaty, included using radiation detection equipment to locate hidden radioactive sources during a practical exercise. “Over many years, NNSA has developed the knowledge and expertise needed to help other nations improve their emergency response capabilities,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph J. Krol. “Partnering with Kazakhstan and sharing our insights helps improve preparedness and could help Kazakhstan better respond to nuclear or radiological emergency should there ever be one. NNSA will continue to provide our unique technical expertise and assistance to the international community, making people around the globe safer from nuclear or radiological incidents.” The I-RAPTER training had 22 participants from the Ministry of Emergency Situations; Kazakhstan Atomic Energy Committee; Ministry of Health, State Sanitary and Epidemiologic Surveillance Committee; Ministry of Internal Affairs; and National Security Committee.

The Russian government has approved the draft agreement on scientific and technical cooperation between the governments of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states. The relevant decree from July 13 signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has been posted on the government website. The decree stipulates that the draft agreement has been developed first with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the Foreign Ministry have been ordered to hold talks with SCO member states and then to sign the draft agreement on the Russian government’s behalf. The document includes cooperation between SCO member states through organizing research, developing and implementing joint programs, projects and innovation technologies in various scientific spheres and exchanging scientific and technical information, experts and scientists. After the agreement comes into effect, any country to become an SCO member will be able to join it.

A new cargo train service from Zhengzhou in China to Hamburg in Germany was launched on July 18 to boost bilateral trade. The inaugural container train will start its journey from Zhengzhou and pass through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland before reaching Germany. The train will travel 10,214 kilometres (6,347 miles) in 16-18 days. The service could shorten the length of time needed for cargo from Zhengzhou to Europe via sea by about 15 days. The first train will carry 665 tonnes of goods such as tyres, shoes, clothes in 51 containers. The trade volume is worth $1.52 million. There will be six such trains to Hamburg this year, which are expected to carry more than $100 million worth of exports and imports. By 2014, the number of cargo trains from Zhengzhou to Hamburg will increase to 50, bringing trade volume to $1 billion.

Russia will start transferring the assets of the leased Baikonur cosmodrome to Kazakhstan in the near future. The first company scheduled for transfer to Kazakhstan will likely be International Space Services, which leases a launch pad for the rocket carrier Zenith at Baikonur, where Israeli satellite AMOS-4 is preparing to be launched. “We have agreed with the Kazakhstan side that they will join International Space Services. Now we are discussing how to realize this intention. Among other ways, we are considering purchasing the Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company’s share,” Deputy Director of the International Space Services Michael Gerasev said. The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan. It is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia until 2050. Under the current Russian space programme, Baikonur remains a busy space port with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions launched annually.