IAEA Mission to Review Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Power Infrastructure

ASTANA – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts have started an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission on March 28 to help prepare a comprehensive report on the country’s nuclear power infrastructure, reported the Kazakh Energy Ministry’s press service. 

IAEA experts have started an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission on March 28 in Kazakhstan. Photo credit: Ministry of Energy.

The mission, which goes through March 31, will assess the state of Kazakhstan’s nuclear energy infrastructure as part of stage one of the nuclear energy development program pending the decision to build the country’s first nuclear power plant.

“Following the IAEA recommendations, INIR is an important tool for developing and implementing safe, reliable and sustainable use of nuclear power,” said Vice Minister of Energy Zhandos Nurmaganbetov. 

The IAEA mission included the Nuclear Infrastructure Development section experts Mehmet Ceyhan, Thibault Reiset, and an external expert from the United Kingdom Stephen Mortin. 

Representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the National Nuclear Center, the Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants company, Kazatomprom national atomic company, and the Scientific and Technical Center for the Safety of Nuclear Technologies also participated in the mission of experts. 

In June 2022, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev identified nuclear power as an essential contributor to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. According to Tokayev, Kazakhstan has a variety of unique benefits for developing nuclear power, which the European Union has included on its list of green technologies. 

The EU seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This pledge might also affect the competitiveness of Kazakh exporters, said Tokayev, who will have to pay a border carbon tax to the EU budget starting in 2026.

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