The ceremony of signing an agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the establishment of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Kazakhstan was held in Astana today on 27 August. The establishment of such a bank may be an obstacle to the monopoly of supplying nuclear fuel for the nuclear power stations.
“This project is establishing mechanism for guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel in the case of politically motivated refusals in the supply and is the demonstration of so-called approached to nuclear fuel cycle. The problem with development of nuclear energy is that the state gets access to the technologies of uranium enrichment, i.e. such technologies are a direct way to creating nuclear fuel. Through establishing such banks the IAEA and international community strives for states not to have any enrichers in their territories, but to apply to the bank. Now they can freely purchase nuclear fuel in the world markets, let’s imagine that we are in the situation that Armenia, let’s say, is blocked all accesses to world market or will experience problems with any of key suppliers. In this case, Armenia can apply to the bank and request for fuel for their nuclear power plant in Metsamor,” said Dauren Aben, Senior Research Fellow at Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, in his interview with EcoLur. The Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank will be located on the basis on Ulbinski metallurgic plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk, in the west of Kazakhstan.
'The material, which is located in the bank, is owned by the IAEA, i.e. Kazakhstan can't influence on the decision,' Dauren Aben noted.
In this regard, EcoLur aslo had an interview with Samvel Mkrtchayn, Head of Department for Control over Armament and International Security of the Ministry for Forein Affairs. We asked whether it's possible for Armenia to get low-enriched uranium from Kazakhstan after the establishment of the bank in Kazakhstan. In reply, Samvel Mkrtchay said, 'We get nuclear fuel from Russia, while this initiative is designed if the traditional schemes of supply own't work. The bank will have been established by 2017. Now there is only an agreement signed, which is an alternative option to guarantees in this field, but the countries continue their ususal activities and we don't any experience any problems here.'
17:42 August 27, 2015