Kazakhstan's decision on site for nuclear power plant depends on agreement with Russia

Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov.5

By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Kazakhstan will decide on a site to accommodate the future nuclear power plant (NPP) only after the conclusion of the intergovernmental agreement with Russia on cooperation within the framework of this project, a source in the Kazakhstan Kazatomprom Atomic Company told Trend.

The draft intergovernmental agreement was initialed in September 2014 by Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik and CEO of the Rosatom Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Sergey Kiriyenko, according to the source.

The source did not name the exact timing of the expected signing of the agreement. However, the experts at the ministry of energy of Kazakhstan believe that the intergovernmental agreement will be signed before the end of 2014, he said.

"Only after the signing of this agreement will work begin on the preparation of the feasibility study for stationing of the future nuclear power plants," he said.

At present, two of the most promising sites for the construction of nuclear power plant are considered: the coast of Lake Balkhash and the town of Kurchatov, where in Soviet times the center of the closed Semipalatinsk test site was situated, according to the source.

In addition to cooperation with Russia on the construction of nuclear power plants, the ministry is discussing cooperation on this issue with a number of leading companies of the world, he said.

Kazakh President Nursultan ordered construction of the nuclear power plant.

Kazakhstan has great uranium reserves - the main fuel for the plant. The country remains the world's biggest uranium producer since 2009 and has produced 22,500 metric tons of uranium in 2013. Currently the country exports all the produced uranium.

Kazakhstan and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the construction of the nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan in late May. The project envisages the construction of the plant with water-powered reactors of 300-1200 MW capacity.

The document also envisages the intention of the two countries to cooperate in supplying nuclear fuel to the nuclear power plant and possibility to jointly produce the fuel or its components in Kazakhstan.

Construction of the first Kazakh nuclear power plant is planned to start in 2018. Nuclear power generation is expected to begin in 2023-2024.

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