Ulbinsk Plant selected as Nuclear Fuel Bank location 18 мая 2012, 14:56
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Head of KazAtomProm Vladimir Shkolnik. Photo by Yaroslav Radlovskiy©
Ulbinsk Plant has been selected as a platform for the Nuclear Fuel Bank, Tengrinews.kz reports citing head of KazAtomProm Vladimir Shkolnik. “Kazakhstan suggested two platforms: Ulbinsk factory that has over 50-year of experience with the materials and the Platform No.5 used for storage of nuclear weapons at Semipalatinsk test site. The experts checked both platforms and considered Ulbinsk factory the most site. First of all, Ulbinsk employees have been working with this material for around 60 years. Back in time when Ulbinsk factory produced around 1,200 tons of fuel per year supplying all the nuclear stations of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, around 1,000 tons of low-enriched uranium in the form of hexafluoride was from time to time stored at the platform we are talking about. It was delivered to the factory, we were using it to make the fuel, then it arrived again and we made the fuel again. We are now talking about storing around 60-70 tons of the material we already have, that is already stored there and that we work with. That means adding just 5 or 7 percent to the capacities we currently have,” Shkolnik said at the international conference called Kazakhstan-USA: 20 Years of Partnership for Security and Development. Shkolnik assured that the Nuclear Fuel Bank will be absolutely safe for Kazakhstan citizens. “Having worked at this industry for 40 years, I can say that this is absolutely safe. There is qualified personnel and there will be no negative effect on the environment. The material is not radioactive, its radioactivity is the same as that of our uranium ore and same as in any of our uranium provinces: from Aktau to Stepnogorsk,” head of KazAtomProm said. The final decision on the actual placement of the materials in the Nuclear Fuel Bank will be made in the second half of 2012, deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan said. “The idea of the bank was reviewed by the IAEA and the decision was made that Kazakhstan met all the requirements for establishment of such bank. The negotiations on the agreement to establish this bank are underway and the meeting of the IAEA Managing Council is scheduled for the end of this year. The agreement is expected to be approved at this meeting. After that we will be talking about actual placement of materials,” Kairat Umarov said. "One of the reasons for choosing Kazakhstan as the fuel bank host-country is the level of security it can ensure and the experience of handling this kind of materials, Mr. Shkolnik said. One of the intense parts of the negotiations among Kazakhstan, the U.S. and the IAEA was security that the IAEA can provide,” former U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan John Ordway said. By Renat Tashkinbayev