President Tokayev Puts Fate of Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Power Plant in Hands of People Through National Referendum

ASTANA – The decision to build the nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan will be made by people, said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his comprehensive interview with the Egemen Qazaqstan newspaper, published on Jan. 3.

Photo credit: Kazakh Energy Ministry.

According to Tokayev, clean nuclear energy is vital for Kazakhstan. This is a fundamental question for the future of the national economy.

“We rank first in the world regarding the volume of natural uranium mined and produce nuclear fuel components. Therefore, I pay special attention to the question of constructing a nuclear power plant on our country’s territory. In the end, energy security questions should be resolved based on real needs and opportunities, and, of course, scientific research, and not geopolitical considerations,” Tokayev said.

The President outlined that among citizens, some are critical of the construction of nuclear power plants, and this is understandable; many well remember the tragic consequences of tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. He explained that other complex sides need to be taken into account, such as the cost of the project and environmental aspects.

“Realizing its significance, I proposed to submit the question of building a nuclear power plant to a national referendum. (…) We will witness extensive public hearings. Citizens shall consider and discuss all the experts’ arguments for and against making a balanced, thoughtful decision during the free expression of their will. This will be the decision of the people,” Tokayev emphasized.

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