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Energy Minister on second nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan

26 january 2015, 14:28
Photo courtesy of novostienergetiki.ru
Photo courtesy of novostienergetiki.ru

A decision on constructing a second nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan might be taken after 2019 after the single energy market is launched within the Eurasian Economic Union, Newskaz.ru reports, citing the country’s Energy Minister Vladimir Shkolnik as saying.

“The probability depends on Kazakhstan’s power consumption, economy growth opportunities, possibilities to export part of domestically generated power to neighboring countries (…) two such projects are being thrashed out in partnership with China; one of the projects under consideration seeks to supply power to Afghanistan and Pakistan”, the Minister said on the sidelines of the sitting in the Majilis (lower chamber).

He reminded that two possible locations have been preselected to accommodate a nuclear power plant, with one of them being in the area of the ex Semipalatinsk-based nuclear testing site and the other in Ulken village in the vicinities of Almaty.

“One of the would-be nuclear power plants will be designed by Russia … the one in Semipalatinsk; when it comes to Balkhash lake, which is going to accommodate the first nuclear power plant, the final decision hasn’t been taken yet, but one of the most promising option would be power plant solutions designed by Toshiba Westinghouse. Kazakhstan is a shareholder. It is a promising and safe option”, the Minister elaborated.

January 23 Tengrinews.kz reported that Kazakhstan had started talks with Toshiba, owner of Westinghouse, to construct its first nuclear power plant. As early as in March the sides might sign an agreement on supplying a $3.7 billion reactor capable of 1 gigawatt, according to Russia’s Kommersant daily.

Early 2014 the country’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev commissioned the Government to decide before the end of the Q1 2014 on the location, sources of investments and timing of constructing a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan.
In his Address to the Nation at the start of 2014, President Nursultan Nazarbayev elaborated why Kazakhstan needs to construct a nuclear power plant.

He emphasized that the future lies with nuclear power. “To use natural gas is a waste of resources. Instead, the gas could be used to produce high value added products. Kazakhstan is a global supplier of uranium (…) we do have all the capabilities [to develop the nuclear power industry]. Nuclear power is a clean energy we should take advantage of”, Nazarbayev said at the time.

“There may be more than one nuclear power plants (…) Their construction is not going to be cheap. Despite potential hazards, more than half of power generated in West Europe comes from nuclear power plants; Japan is not halting its nuclear power industry, either”.

Tengrinews.kz reported earlier, citing KazAtomProm’s Press Service, that Kazakhstan retains its title of the uranium production leader as it supplies about 37% of uranium to global markets. The global market’s capacity is estimated at 55 700 tons. The uranium production output in Kazakhstan made up 20 900 tons in 2012. In 2011 the country’s share in global uranium supplies stood at 35%.

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