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Nuclear power station will make Kazakhstan top energy exporter in CIS

15 september 2012, 13:43
0
©RIA Novosti
©RIA Novosti
Kazakhstan may become a leader in export of energy among CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries in the post soviet space after switching to nuclear energy, Director of the Nuclear Energy Institute of Kazakhstan National Nuclear Center Yergazy Kenzhin told Tengrinews.kz.

He thinks that nuclear power stations are feasible as basic energy sources that could become a “core” for the whole Kazakhstan’s energy system. “If we install a block generating 1 thousand megawatt (1 gigawatt), it will be able to compete with thermal power stations and we will benefit from that, especially in the long-term perspective of the economy's development.” Kenzhin noted that development of industry in Kazakhstan is directly linked to the amount of produced energy and that energy production growth should exceed growth rate of the demand.

According to him, 2-3 nuclear power stations with a capacity of around 1 gigawatt each would be enough to fully supply Kazakhstan with energy without any need to import any. This will be enough to make Kazakhstan the leader among CIS countries by energy export. “We should export energy instead of uranium, (a finished good instead of a raw material). This should be the case for all the mineral resources,” Kenzhin stressed.

Currently the total capacity of all Kazakhstan’s power stations stands at around 14 gigawatt. Kenzhin added that power deficiency is expected in all regions of Kazakhstan in future. This is related to development of industry and construction of the new facilities. The deficiency will be most evident in north Kazakhstan where the most energy-consuming companies are located.

The expert assured that nuclear power stations had a high level of security. “What happened at Fukushima is related first of all to the use of an old design of nuclear reactors and the tsunami,” Kenzhin said. Nuclear power stations stand at the same level as green energy sources by ecological parameters. “Amounts of spent nuclear fuel generated by nuclear stations and emissions of the coal station are incomparable. 200 tons of fuel is replaced every 1.5-2 years at a a 1 thousand megawatt nuclear station. Balkhash thermal power plant would generate million tons of wastes - considering the ash content of Ekibastuz coal - in the same period of time.”

Kenzhin also stated that the first two energy blocks with a capacity of around 1 gigawatt each could be built in Kurchatov (East-Kazakhstan oblast) in 2020-2022. The plant will have a third-generation reactor. The contractor for the project will be selected through a tender. In future it is possible to switch to a safer and more efficient fourth-generation reactor. In this case Kazakhstan’s reserves of uranium ore will be enough for tens of thousands of years.


By Dmitriy Khegai

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