ASTANA – Kazakh Minister of Energy Vladimir Shkolnik told the Sept. 14-18 59th session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) General Conference in Vienna that Kazakhstan is thankful for the agency’s report on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, it’s monitoring of North Korea’s nuclear programme and reminded the gathering that Kazakhstan and the IAEA signed an agreement this year to establish a nuclear fuel bank in Kazakhstan.
“We appreciate the work of the agency and the director general’s report on the accident at the nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi, containing a balanced and objective assessment, which allows extracting appropriate lessons and making recommendations on strengthening nuclear safety,” he said.
“We are thankful for the work of the IAEA on inspection of the nuclear programmes of North Korea, Syria and Iran. We call on North Korea to fulfil its obligations in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and return to the negotiation process on the settlement of the situation in the six-nation format,” Shkolnik said.
Shkolnik welcomed the Comprehensive Plan of Joint Actions on Iran’s nuclear programme adopted on July 14 in Vienna by six international mediators and Iran. In his words, effective implementation of the plan will strengthen non-proliferation and regional security.
According to him, Kazakhstan contributed to the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear programme. At the initiative of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev, Almaty hosted two rounds of talks, which strengthened the atmosphere of trust in the negotiations.
“One of the important events of the year is the signing of the agreement between Kazakhstan and the agency on the establishment of an IAEA bank of low-enriched uranium (LEU) in our country. Also, two technical agreements were signed on specific procedures of the project. Next year, the agreement is due to be ratified by the Parliament of Kazakhstan,” Shkolnik said.
Shkolnik informed the participants that Kazakhstan promotes the establishment of a zone free from nuclear weapons in Central Asia, as well as supports the creation of a similar zone in the Middle East. He also noted that President Nazarbayev initiated The ATOM (Abolish Testing Our Mission) Project, whose petition for the early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) has now been signed by more than two hundred thousand people globally.
“It is important to note our joint work with the IAEA on assessment of the radiation on the territory of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, as well as joint projects in the field of nuclear medicine,” Shkolnik said.
The minister underlined that Kazakhstan attaches great importance to the fight against terrorism. The country consistently implements the provisions of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism. “We urge those countries that did not join the convention to do so as soon as possible,” he added.
Shkolnik further said Kazakhstan supports all IAEA activities in the sphere of transfer and development of technologies and knowledge related to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
“This year, Kazakhstan has made a voluntary contribution in the amount of $325,000 to the Nuclear Security Fund, the initiative on the peaceful use of nuclear energy and on verification of implementation of the Joint Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme,” Shkolnik concluded.
The delegation from Kazakhstan attending the session includes senior representatives from the Kazakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President of national atomic company Kazatomprom Askar Zhumagaliyev, officials from the National Nuclear Centre of Kazakhstan and other entities.