International nuclear fuel bank is not feasible for Kazakhstan 21 июня 2012, 19:07
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Storage containers for nuclear fuel. ©RIA Novosti
The International nuclear fuel bank, set to be established in Kazakhstan in 2013, is not feasible, Tengrinews.kz reports citing Serik Kozhakhmetov, Director General of High Technologies Institute, an affiliated company of KazAtomProm, as saying at the meeting in the club of the Institute of Political Solutions (IPS).
The speaker said that the nuclear fuel bank is a political and an image-making project showing Kazakhstan's strive to creating an open nuclear security system. "The materials placed there will be owned by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency); we will be just an accountable keeper. The presence of the nuclear fuel bank will show the whole world that Kazakhstan hosts the project ensuring safe storage of somebody's materials," Kozhakhmetov said.
The expert compared the project with beautiful dishware that is bought when "there is food in plenty to be put on these plates"; it brings the respectability element in. According to Kozhakhmetov, the bank has no value from the technical point of view. "The presence of 30-60 tons of low-enriched uranium will not make any difference or make the nuclear-radiation security deteriorate if stored at Ulbinsk Metallurgical Plant, that has produced tens of thousands of tons of nuclear fuel since its construction," the panelist said.
Kozhakhmetov added that with creation of the bank, Kazakhstan may become some kind of equivalent of Switzerland in the financial market, but in nuclear energy sector. "In fact this bank is an insurance against risks for uranium consumers and those who produce it in the global system. Uranium is sold as any other commodity," the expert said.
Earlier Tengrinews.kz English reported that the international nuclear fuel bank with the capacity of 60 tons is to be created in Kazakhstan by fall 2013. Legally the nuclear materials will be owned by IAEA, not Kazakhstan. The project is aimed at enhancement of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
By Dmitriy Khegay