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Kazakhstan lifts secrecy from nuclear-related activities

16 january 2015, 16:26

Vice Minister of Energy Bakhytzhan Dzhaksaliyev has presented a bill “On the Use of Atomic Energy” in the lower chamber of the Parliament on January 15, Tengrinews reports.

The accompanying draft law amending Kazakhstan's legislative acts regulating the use of atomic energy includes amendments to the Civil and Environmental Code, the Law on Radiation Safety of the Population, the Law on State Secrets and the Law on Permissions and Notifications. This will create a legal framework for further development of nuclear technologies for peaceful purposes in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan government plans to construct two nuclear power plants by 2025. The construction has not yet started, because first, the government needs to prepare all the licensing and regulatory documents. Lifting state secrecy from the environmental aspects of nuclear power plant construction is one of the many actions that are in the plans.

"The Law on State Secrets has been amended in subparagraph 35 of Article 12 to adjust the list of data qualified as state secrets of Kazakhstan. This will improve accessibility of environmental information and retain the secrecy only in relation to specific physical security of nuclear facilities,” Dzhaksaliyev said.

“That is, we believe that information about the possible effects of hazardous facilities on the environment, including those caused by nuclear energy facilities, should be made accessible and public. In today's conditions it doesn't make sense keeping the entire work of a nuclear power plant classified, since this significantly hinders the development of the nuclear industry and causes a phobia in the population," he explained.

After that the Vice Minister went on to explain the causes of such phobia: "A phobia emerges because of lack of knowledge and awareness. (…) So one needs to keep the population constantly informed both about the existing (operational) facilities and about the action plans for liquidation of possible fallout in the event of an accident.”

The new amendments also require attestation of personnel responsible for security of operations involving nuclear energy, expert examination of nuclear, radiation and human safety, insurance of the personnel against risks of radiation exposure. In particular, the Civil Code’s Article 839 is amended to secure the provision of insurance of radiation risks. 

Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev, writing by Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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