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Major benefit of hosting the international nuclear fuel bank is boosting Kazakhstan’s weight in the global non-proliferation endeavors

22 august 2012, 15:44
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Head of KazAtomProm Vladimir Shkolnik. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Head of KazAtomProm Vladimir Shkolnik. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
August 15, 2012 KazAtomProm National Nuclear Company Head Vladimir Shkolnik briefed journalists on his Company’s performance for the recent 15 years.

Currently the Company comprises 73 subsidiaries, including Volkovgeologya Geological Exploration Company, Ulba Metallurgical Works, facilities producing rare and rare earth metals, a sulfuric acid producing facility, nuclear and alternative energy generating facilities.

At the dawn of its operations (back in 1997) the Company produced less than 800 tons of uranium a year, with the figure boosted to the current 20 000 tons. The Company employs 24 000 people.

Mr. Shkolnik also commented on the idea of Kazakhstan hosting the international nuclear fuel bank. Tengrinews.kz reported earlier that Ulbinsk Plant had been selected as a platform for the Nuclear Fuel Bank.

A nuclear fuel bank is a proposed approach to provide countries access to enriched nuclear fuel, without the need for them to possess enrichment technology. The basic concept is that countries who do have enrichment technology would donate enriched fuel to a "bank", from which countries not possessing enrichment technology would obtain fuel for their power reactors.

Back in 2009 Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested hosting an international nuclear fuel bank in the Kazakh territory. The idea was approved of by the IAEA in 2011.

According to Mr. Shkolnik, the major benefit of hosting the facility is boosting Kazakhstan’s weight in the global non-proliferation endeavors. “Although this brings no financial gains, the fact of hosting the facility amounts to global recognition of Kazakhstan’s industry specialists and scientists’ qualification”, Profinance.kz quotes him as saying.

As for growing terror threats with regards to the facility accommodated in the Kazakh territory, he believes the safety is increased through international scrutiny.

In 2009 the uranium production output grew from 8521 in 2008 to 14 020, enabling Kazakhstan to become the global leader in terms of production.

KazAtomProm is Kazakhstan's major exporter of uranium and its compounds, rare metals, nuclear fuel for nuclear power stations, special equipment, technologies and dual-usage materials.

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