ASTANA – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission started its work in Kazakhstan on Feb. 27 to help prepare a comprehensive report on the country’s nuclear power infrastructure, reported the Kazakh Energy Ministry’s press service.
The mission, which will last until March 3, will explore the development of Kazakhstan’s nuclear energy infrastructure, including the construction of the first nuclear power plant (NPP).
In line with the guidelines of the IAEA’s Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power, the comprehensive report corresponds to the achievement of stage I, readiness to make a conscious commitment to a nuclear power program, and contains the rationale and strategy for implementing the program.
According to available information, Kazakhstan intends to build the nuclear station near the Ulken village in the Almaty Region. According to the country’s Energy Ministry, construction could take up to ten years, with a power unit costing nearly $5 billion. Kazakhstan is researching reactor technologies from six global sources. They include technologies from the United States (NuScale), Japan (GE-Hitachi), South Korea (KHNP), China (CNNC), Russia (Rosatom), and France (EDF).
Representatives of the Kazakh Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the National Nuclear Center, and representatives of the Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants company, Kazatomprom national atomic company, KEGOC national operator for electric grid management, and the Scientific and Technical Center for the Safety of Nuclear Technologies were invited to participate in the mission of experts.
Kazakhstan has cooperated extensively with the IAEA.
In 2010, the IAEA established a low-enriched-uranium (LEU) fuel bank in Kazakhstan, which provides a physical reserve of LEU, the basic ingredient of nuclear fuel, for eligible IAEA member states. It acts as a last resort supplier in case member states cannot obtain LEU on the global commercial market.