ASTANA – International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts stated on April 1 that Kazakhstan has made significant progress in fulfilling the recommendations of the previous Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review (INIR) mission, reported the Kazakh Energy Ministry’s press service.
The previous INIR mission in 2016 examined the state of nuclear infrastructure development using the criteria of the first phase of the IAEA Milestones Approach, a comprehensive strategy to assist countries considering or preparing to construct their first nuclear power plant.
The first stage assesses a country’s readiness to make a reasonable commitment to a nuclear power program. It is an important tool for the development and implementation of safe, reliable, and sustainable nuclear energy use before a decision can be made on the construction of a nuclear power plant.
The experts said Kazakhstan has fully implemented the recommendations contained in the 2016 review in the areas of nuclear power program coordination, understanding nuclear power plant financing, emergency planning, and radioactive waste management.
“All these efforts will further support the Kazakh government in its decision to launch a nuclear power program,” said Mehmet Ceyhan, the mission’s team leader.
According to the experts, further work is needed to complete a comprehensive report, assess the funding needed for nuclear power infrastructure, plan for the development of a regulator and owner/operator, and develop an industry engagement policy.
Kazakhstan’s Vice Minister of Energy, Zhandos Nurmaganbetov, reaffirmed the country’s continuous measures to ensure the Kazakh nuclear power program meets the highest safety standards and best international practices.
“The INIR mission is a valuable tool for us to identify areas for improvement and ensure the availability of the infrastructure needed to develop Kazakhstan’s nuclear energy,” Nurmaganbetov said.
He noted Kazakhstan “highly appreciates the IAEA’s role in the development of the peaceful use of atomic energy.”