Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

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Kazakhstan works with the US to dispose of highly enriched uranium

Posted on January 24, 2015 by KazCham

The Astana Times

On Jan. 7, the United States Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) helped in removing 36 kilogrammes (80 pounds) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) spent fuel from the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) in Almaty. This fuel was sent to a secure facility in Russia for disposal by downblending it to low-enriched uranium (LEU).

The complex and high-security operation was carried out by the United States, Kazakhstan, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) working together.

Anne Harrington, DOE/NNSA Deputy Administrator, praised this multi-lateral effort stating that  “this cooperation reduces the chance that such material can fall into the hands of terrorists.”

Plans are afoot to return nearly 50 additions kgs of HEU to Russia from Kazakhstan, in order to eliminate all HEU research reactor fuel from Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan has been a leading country in international efforts to reduce the existence of nuclear weapons and materials worldwide. In the early 1990s, Kazakhstan renounced its nuclear weapons, a legacy of the former Soviet Union, and has been working tirelessly for the non-proliferation movement. Recently, Kazakhstan has proposed becoming the host of the IAEA’s International Bank of Low-Enriched Uranium.

Kazakhstan and the United States will also be cooperating to boost Kazakhstan’s core capabilities in handling nuclear materials. These areas of cooperation include improving nuclear security, constructing a Nuclear Security Training Centre at INP, providing radiation detection equipment at Kazakhstan’s ports of entry as well as associated training and support for [maintenance] of equipment, and cooperating on safeguards implementation and training for Kazakhstani officials on export controls.

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