IAEA closely cooperating with Kazakhstan to ensure safe operations of LEU Bank

IAEA closely cooperating with Kazakhstan to ensure safe operations of LEU Bank

BAKU, Azerbaijan, Nov. 7

By Nargiz Sadikhova - Trend:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) continues to cooperate closely with Kazakhstan to ensure the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank is operated safely, IAEA representative told Trend.

The IAEA Board of Governors decided in December 2010 to establish the IAEA LEU Bank as a physical reserve of LEU available for eligible IAEA Member States.

In 2015, the IAEA and the Government of Kazakhstan signed an agreement for the creation of the IAEA LEU Bank in the East Kazakhstan region. The IAEA LEU Bank was established and became operational in October 2019 with the receipt of 32 full 30B cylinders of LEU, and the physical stock of LEU in the IAEA LEU Bank was completed with the receipt of an additional 28 full 30B cylinders of LEU in December 2019.

The bank now hosts a reserve of 90 metric tonnes of LEU and is owned and controlled by the IAEA but is operated by the Government of Kazakhstan under its legislation and following the IAEA safety standards and security guidance. The bank is located on the premises of the Ulba metallurgical plant, a licensed nuclear site in Ust-Kamenogorsk in Eastern Kazakhstan.

"The LEU market is well functioning and able to supply the fuel requirements of nuclear power plants in the world. As a physical reserve of 90 metric tons of LEU suitable to make fuel for a typical light water reactor (the most widely used type of nuclear power reactor worldwide), the IAEA LEU Bank is a reserve of LEU owned and controlled by the IAEA. It provides the Member States with additional assurance that they could obtain LEU in the event there is a disruption in existing fuel supply arrangements due to exceptional circumstances and when LEU cannot be obtained by any other means," the official said.

The IAEA official that the agency continues to cooperate closely with Kazakhstan to ensure the IAEA LEU Bank is operated safely and securely in addition to remaining ready to supply LEU if needed.

"Also, the IAEA is providing support to Kazakhstan through several technical cooperation projects in areas such as nuclear infrastructure, food security, nuclear medicine, and waste management," the official said.

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Follow the author on twitter: @nargiz_sadikh

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